Columbia Theological Seminary
COLUMBIA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY BULLETIN
Volume LVIII July, 1965 No. 3
Published five times a year by Columbia Theological Seminary, Box 291,
Decatur, Georgia 30031. Entered as second-class matter, May 9, 1928, at the
Post Office at Decatur, Ga., under the Act of Congress of August 24, 1912.
Second-class postage paid at Decatur, Georgia.
FOREWORD — By J. McDowell Richards 3
"The Crisis in Urgency" 4
... By Leighton Ford
"The Evangelistic Task" 15
... By C. Darby Fulton
"The Heritage of the Social Gospel" 18
... By Neely Ddcon McCarter
"The Significance of Suffering in Kierkegaard" 35
... By Robert L. Faulkner
Morgan Phelps Noyes Henry Shane Coffin: 45
The Man and His Ministry
... By J. McDowell Richards
Marshall C. Dendy Changing Patterns in Christian Education 46
... By Manford Geo. Gutzke
Kenneth Cragg The Call of the Minaret 47
... By C. Darby Fulton
H. H. Rowley Men of God 48
. . . By L. R. Dewitz
Roy L. Honeycutt Crisis and Response 49
... By J. McDowell Richards
William Baird The Corinthian Church 50
... By Wade P. Huie, Jr.
Floyd V. Filson A New Testament History 51
... By Charles B. Covsar
F. F. Bruce Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews 52
... By Samuel A. Cartledge
W. C. van Unnik The New Testament 53
... By John N. Akers
R. K. Harrison Archaeology of the New Testament 54
... By Dean G. McKee
Markus Barth Conversation with the Bible 54
... By James H. Gailey, Jr.
Harry N. Huxhold The Promise and the Presence 56
... By James H. Gailey, Jr.
Robert Grimm Love and Sexuality 51
... By Calvin Kropp
Norman St. John-Stevas Law and Morals
C. W. Scudder (ed.) Crises in Morality
... By Stuart B. Babbage
Paul Tournier The Whole Person in a Broken World 58
... By Harold B. Prince
William Harold Tieman The Right to Silence 59
... By J. McDowell Richards
Jerome Murphy-O'Connor Paul on Preaching 60
... By Hubert Vance Taylor
Roger Lincoln Shinn Tangled World 61
... By Stuart B. Babbage
Kenneth K. Bailey Southern White Protestantism in the
Twentieth Century 62
... By Neely Dixon McCarter
Malcolm Boyd (ed.) On the Battle Lines 63
... By James H. Gailey, Jr.
Alfred T. Davies (ed.) The Pulpit Speaks on Race 63
. . . By L. R. Dewitz
Erich Kahler The Meaning of History 64
... By Paul T. Fuhrmann
E. Harris Harbison History and Christianity 65
... By Stuart B. Babbage
Andre Bieler The Social Humanism of Calvin 66
... By Stuart B. Babbage
J. D. Douglas Light in the North 66
... By William C. Robinson
Martin E. Marty Varieties of Unbelief 67
... By Neely Dixon McCarter
Roland Mushat Frye Shakespeare and Christian Doctrine 68
... By Stuart B. Babbage
Sheldon Sacks Fiction and the Shape of Belief 69
... By Richard M. Austin
Nathan A. Scott, Jr. (ed.) The Climate of Faith in
Modern Literature 70
... By Harry B. Beverly
Edward Wasiolek Dostoevsky 71
Eduard Thurneysen Dostoevsky
... By Stuart B. Babbage
Harry T. Moore (ed.) Contemporary American Novelists 71
... By Stuart B. Babbage
George L. Earnshaw (ed.) The Campus Ministry 72
John Coulson (ed.) Theology and the University
... By Neely Dixon McCarter
George W. Forell (ed.) The Christian Year 73
... By Wade P. Hum, Jr.
A. G. Dickens The English Reformation 74
... By Philip E. Hughes
Alexander J. McKelway The Systematic Theology of Paul Tillich 76
... By Neely Dixon McCarter
Peter Beyerhaus and Henry Lefever The Responsible Church and
the Foreign Mission 78
... By C. Darby Fulton
G. R. Cragg Reason and Authority in the Eighteenth Century 79
... By Stuart B. Babbage
Bertrand Weaver Joy 80
... By Paul T. Fuhrmann
Eduard N. Loring Inside Back Cover
The first three articles in this issue of the Bulletin deal in
different ways with the primary task of the Church — the win-
ning of men to faith in and obedience to Christ. Rev. Leighton
Ford, one of the gifted younger graduates of Columbia Semi-
nary, writes from the perspective of one actively engaged in the
field of Evangelism. Dr. C. Darby Fulton, with a similar em-
phasis, speaks out of his rich experience as a missionary and a
missionary statesman. The treatment of the "Social Gospel"
contributed by Dr. Neely D. McCarter may not at first appear
to be so directly related to Evangelism, but will be found on
further reflection to have significant implications for that task.
The stimulating exposition of certain aspects of Kierkegaard's
life and thought, which constitutes the fourth major article,
comes from the pen of Robert L. Faulkner — a young medical
doctor of the Baptist Church, who has spent this year in spe-
cial study at Columbia Seminary in preparation for missionary
The section of the bulletin given to reviews of significant
new books in the field of religion has been considerably enlarged
in the hope that this policy will have real value for busy
The first poem to be included in a Faculty Issue of the
Bulletin was composed by Eduard N. Loring of Charlotte, North
Carolina — a member of the Middle Class. It is hoped that other
poetry written by students or alumni can be printed here from
time to time.
J. McDowell Richards
THE CRISIS IN URGENCY
Leigh ton Ford
That great apostle to the Islamic World, Samuel Zwemer, once wrote,
"Evangelism is a collison of souls." "We may measure its effect," he said,
"by an equation: M X V — I or Mass X Velocity = Impact."
If we let "mass" stand for the truth of the Gospel, then the "impact"
of our Gospel on the world will be in direct proportion to the "velocity" —
the "urgency" — with which it is delivered.
Christian evangelism today faces this crisis: what constitutes the ur-
gency of our mission?
One thing is clear: ours is a white-hot world, a world which will not
be wooed by any cool philosophy, a world which wants not just truth —
but truth with passion, truth which commands urgency, truth which capti-
vates its believers with a profound dedication. That is why Louis Evans can
write, "Even an untruth like Communism propagated whole-heartedly will
seem to get the best of truth like Christianity propagated halfheartedly."
We must have truth on fire!
I am not perturbed about the ultimate prospects of the Gospel. The
winds of Communism, paganism, and secularism can never blow out the
Light of the world, though sometimes the flame seems to flicker.
But God has not made us responsible for the ultimate triumph of Christ.
What He has given to us is responsibility for the evangelization of this
present generation. And I am profoundly perturbed about this prospect, for
we shall certainly fail in our task unless the church is gripped by a far
more compelling urgency than we now demonstrate.
Let us remember that evangelism is not primarily a program. Evange-
lism is first of all a passion — a passion of the heart which issues in saving
action. Evangelism is the passion of Moses, "Oh, this people have sinned
... yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin — if not, blot me, I pray thee, out
of the book which thou has written." It is the cry of John Knox, "Give me
Scotland or I die." It is the declaration of John Wesley, "The world is my
parish." It is the prayer of Billy Sunday. "Make me a giant for God." It is
Henry Martyn landing on the snores of India and crying, "Here let me burn
out for God!" It is David Brainerd coughing up blood from his tubercular
lungs as he prays in the snow for the Indians. It is the cry of Paul, "I could
wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen
according to the flesh." It is the anguished cry of Jesus as he weeps over a
doomed city, "Oh Jerusalem, how oft would I have gathered thee." It is the
sob of God.
Thumb through the yellowed pages of journals written by yesterday's
spiritual giants, and you sense a deep yearning, a travail of soul for the lost
strangely lacking in the church today.
Richard Baxter wrote, "The work of conversion is the great thing that
Dr. Leighton Ford, Associate Evangelist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Asso-
ciation, graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary Magna cum laude. He
is a member of the Mecklenburg Presbytery. The substance of this address was
given before the Society for Theological Scholarship.
we must first drive at, and labor with all our might to effect ... I confess, I
am forced frequently to neglect that which should tend to the further in-
crease of knowledge in the godly, because of the lamentable necessity of
the unconverted . . . methinks I even see them entering upon their final woe!
Methinks I even hear them crying out for help." Matthew Henry wrote,
"I would think it a greater happiness to gain one soul to Christ than
mountains of silver and gold to myself. If God suffers me to labor in
vain, though I should get hundreds a year by my labor, it would be a
constant grief and trouble of my soul; and if I do not gain souls, I shall
enjoy all my other gains with very little satisfaction." Doctor Doddridge
wrote to a friend, "I long for the conversion of souls more sensibly than
anything else. Methinks I could not only labor, but die for it with pleasure.
The love of Christ constraineth me."
If Emil Brunner is right when he says, "The church exists by mission
as fire exists by burning," how is that flame of sacred mission to be lit in
these cold hearts of ours?
We do not automatically have a concern for evangelism. We do not
drift into it, for evangelism is a costly business. It cost God His Son. It cost
Jesus bloody sweat, and mocking jeers, and gaping wounds. When the four
men took their paralyzed friend to Jesus, they had to tear up the roof to
get him to the Saviour. As Joe Blinco says in one of his colorful comments,
"Someone had to pay for that roof." No one ever comes to Jesus, unless
someone pays for the roof.
Perhaps that is why we are so easily cooled off by the many influences
which are deadening our urgency today.
There is, for one thing, a spreading universalism.
Universalism is an ancient heresy, first taught in the Christian church by
Origen (185-254 AD) of Alexandria. It was later condemned by the
church. But the teaching has periodically reappeared, noticeably in post-
Reformation times as a reaction to a strict doctrine of election, and in the
nineteenth century, when it was known as "the larger hope" of heathen
who had not heard the Gospel.
An implicit universalism, which overlooks the seriousness of sin and
doubts the universal saviourhood of Jesus Christ, has been widespread in
some church circles for years.
A great deal of latent universalism exists because of a false view of
"tolerance", which really amounts to sheer lack of conviction. Tolerance
is of no particular merit to the man who is indifferent to truth.
This older universalism threatened the urgency of evangelism because
it assumed, for all practical purposes, that men either didn't need saving,
or would all end up saved any way.
In recent years, there has been a further resurgence of universalism,
which also threatens evangelistic motivation by assuming that men are
already saved. Thus one theologian can exclaim, "This is a saved world!"
The new universalism, as Bernard Ramm points out, finds its roots in
"the belief that Christ is not only in principle Lord of mankind, but is in
fact Lord of mankind. Therefore, evangelism in missions is simply the task
of announcing the lordship of Christ."
Ramm correctly claims that this question has great impact for the
church's evangelistic task. The new universalism will obviously short-circuit
evangelistic concern. Why bother ourselves about a task which is not really
necessary, when there are so many important things to do in the world?
A second deadening factor today to the Christian's evangelistic urgency,
is a kind of mechanical ecclesiasticism.
By this, I mean the tacit assumption, that a person who has joined a
church organization, is by virtue of that fact right with God. When a person
unites with a church, or is confirmed, or makes his personal confession of
faith, this outward act ought to be a true indicator of an inward and living
faith. But is it necessarily so? Was Sam Shoemaker not closer to the truth
when he wrote, "I am shocked to find how many people in our churches
have never anywhere made a decisive Christian commitment. They oozed
into church membership on a conventional kind of basis, but no one has
ever effectively dealt with them spiritually, or helped them make a Christian
E. Stanley Jones, the Methodist missionary evangelist, has said, "Religious
education should lead inevitably to a moral and spiritual choice. It should
lead inevitably to conversion. But has it? Very often it has been substituted
for conversion. The consequence is that the churches are filled with un-
converted people. They know about God, but they don't know Him; they
are informed about Christ, but they are not transformed by Him; they know
about the moral laws, but are powerless to fulfill them."
One minister in a leading Canadian denomination told me, after acting
as a crusade advisor, that he was so shocked by the teenage inquirers he
interviewed, who had joined the church as children but said it meant no-
thing, that he would have to rethink and reshape his entire program of
preparing children for church membership.
Certainly, "in Christ, in the church" is true, but can we assume that
the converse is also true — "in the church, in Christ"? Does the outward
form guarantee the inner reality?
It was not true under the old covenant. Jeremiah thundered to those
who trusted in the circumcision of their flesh, "Circumcise yourselves to the
Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and
inhabitants of Jerusalem" (Jeremiah 4:4).
It was not true of John the Baptist's audience. He warned them, "Bring
forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within
yourselves, we have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God
is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham" (Luke 3:8).
It was not true of Nicodemus. Jesus told this child of the covenant, "Ye
must be born again" (John 3:7).
It was not true of the twelve disciples. One of them — the treasurer of
Jesus' little church — was a devil, said the Lord!
It was not true of the virgins in Jesus' parable. Outwardly they were to
all appearances the same — all with wedding dresses, all with lamps. But
inwardly five of them lacked oil in their lamps.
It was not true of the Pharisees. "Woe unto you," said Jesus, "for ye
are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but
are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also
outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy
and iniquity" (Matthew 23:27,28).
It was not true of Simon Magus. Peter said to this baptized, professing
believer, "thy heart is not right in the sight of God" (Acts 8:21 b).
We must especially beware in these days when we bow down at the
shrine of statistics, that we do not let the form of religion dull our concern
for spiritual reality.
There is a third deadening factor today — a distorted Calvinism.
The doctrine of the sovereignty of God is a shining, biblical truth, which
at its best compels us to evangelize to the glory of our divine King. But any
doctrine can be wrested and deformed. The "neo-Puritan" movement,
especially in England, has been a healthy corrective to some of our religious
humanism. But we must beware lest the biblical basis of God's sovereignty
be divorced from the biblical teaching of man's responsibility, so that "Cal-
vinism" is distorted into a kind of fatalism.
When Spurgeon was once asked to reconcile these two truths, he replied,
"I wouldn't try. I never reconcile friends."
There are some small churches in America which have taken this ob-
session with one side of the truth to such an extreme that they refuse to
have Sunday Schools or to engage in world missions. To do so, they hold,
would be to infringe upon God's sovereign rights with human effort!
William Carey met this type of thinking two centuries ago. He rose at
a minister's fraternal to propose that they form a missionary society. "Sit
down, young man," objected the Chairman. "When God is pleased to
convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine!"
The theme song of this party appears to be:
"Sit down, oh man of God,
The Kingdom He will bring
Just how and when and where He wilt;
You cannot do a thing."
At the opposite end of the spectrum is another tendency which cuts
the evangelistic nerve. This I would call a man-centered activism.
Some time ago a radio quartet was heard to sing, "Let's Turn the Tide
for God." I am sure God's anxieties were greatly relieved by this encourage-
ment! What a pitiful picture this presents of a feeble, frustrated deity, wring-
ing His hands over the mess the world is in, and wondering how He will
ever work things out unless some strong man lends a helping hand!
Where is the living God of Scripture in the scheme — the Lord God
omnipotent who sits in the heavens and laughs at man's pretensions of
revolt (Psalms 2:4); the Holy One who sits upon the circle of the earth,
and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers (Isaiah 40:22); the God and
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who "works all things after the counsel of
his own will" (Ephesians 1:11)?
Make no mistake. Evangelism may be increasingly difficult in the de-
cades ahead. That is why "activistic" evangelism will fail. It is centered on
man instead of God. It overstresses human responsibility and feels the
pressure to produce results. Its "success psychology" demands more and
better techniques. But when the best methods meet the hard resistance of
stubborn sin, "activistic" evangelism is frustrated and retreats into the ghetto
There is one other factor which deadens our urgency. For want of a
more accurate description we can call this an eccentric evangelicalism — an
evangelicalism which is centered on anything except the Lord Himself. It
would be pleasant to believe that a correct conservative evangelical theology
guarantees evangelistic zeal. But the evidence is not there. True, an
evangelical mind joined with an evangelical heart has produced the greatest
missionaries and evangelists. But a cold heart can beat close to a correct
head. There are too many churches with impeccable credentials for orthodox
theology, whose outreach is almost nil. They are "sound", but they are
The vital penetration of the New Testament "koinonia" is absent. Their
"fellowship" is that of the smug and complacent club, whose members
compliment each other on their correctness, but who are really in full re-
treat from the hard job of relevant evangelism. Orthodox theology can be-
come an escape from engagement with a Christless world.
The trouble is spiritual "eccentricity". The secondary has become pri-
mary. How sadly Paul commented, "All seek their own, not the things
which are Jesus Christ's" (Philippians 2:21). Something other than our
Lord may become the focus of attention, and the excuse for self-seeking: a
theological system, the personality of a leader, an issue in church politics,
even a program of evangelism. A Latin Christian observed that North
American churches are "mission-centered" rather than "witness- centered".
Absorbed in supporting missionaries overseas, they become irrelevant in
their witness at home. Is it possible that a church's missionary program
could become an idol to the detriment of evangelistic zeal? I am convinced
that the Devil can also use church controversies to divert us from our mis-
sion. The defense of the "faith once delivered" has a place — but not the
Evangelical "eccentricity" will deaden our evangelism whenever we
forget God's will: "That in all things He (God's dear Son) might have the
preeminence, for it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell"
(Colossians 1:18, 19).
We have seen some of the factors that deaden our concern. How then is
our urgency to be quickened?
Let me suggest that our evangelism will be eccentric, our urgency
artificial, our campaigns abortive, our enterprises shortlived, if our starting
point is anything but the urgency of the Word of God or as it stands out in
the New Testament — the authority of Jesus Christ.
James Denney was once entertaining in his home a Scottish missionary
on furlough from India. The man came in discouraged at night from a
church where he had presented the cause of missions. "Denney", he said, "I
am ready to give up. I have been pouring out my life in India, and I come
home to find that people who are supposed to support us don't care. I don't
think they even believe in missions." And Denney flashed back, "Tlien they
have no right to believe in missions, for they do not believe in Jesus Christ!"
Jesus Christ is the urgency of evangelism!
Nowhere is this more grippingly apparent than in the life of Paul. Here
was a Christ-mastered, Christ-intoxicated man, who has left us the great
manifesto of missionary motivation in II Corinthians 5:10-21.
Here Paul indicates that the secret of his passion lay in three realms. In
each of them, Jesus Christ was supreme.
There is the realm of theology — the Christ-centered mind. These verses
are full of profound theological phrases — "the judgment seat of Christ",
"the terror of the Lord", "one died for all", "God was in Christ", "not im-
puting their trespasses", "the word of reconciliation", "the righteousness of
God". Obviously, Paul's passion for souls was not merely an emotion. It
was deeply thought out.
Evangelistic urgency cannot be sustained long on emotional appeals. Nor
can biblical evangelism endure long when it is grafted to an unbiblical the-
ology. Evangelism and theology belong together. They are partners, not com-
petitors. As Denney said in his fine sentence, "If theologians were our
evangelists, and evangelists our theologians, we would have the ideal
The Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century provides an excellent
example of the relation betwen theology and evangelism. Skevington Wood
says in his account of the revival that "although the triumph of the orthodox
divines over the deistic threat in the early part of the eighteenth century was
gained purely in the intellectual realm, it was not, therefore, without spiritual
significance ... the claim of the Gospel to be received as authentic tidings
from heaven had been vindicated at the scholarly level ... it cleared the
path for the Evangelical Revival."
Wood also quotes Canon Overton on the needless competition between
the theologians and the evangelists of that era. "It was unfortunate that
there should have ever been any antagonism between men who were really
workers in the same great cause. Neither could have done the other's part
of the work. Warburton could have no more moved the hearts of living
masses, as Whitefield did, than Whitefield could have written The Divine
Legation. Butler could no more have carried on the great crusade against
sin and Satan which Wesley did, than Wesley could have written The
Analogy. But without such work as Wesley and Whitefield did, Butler's
and Warburton's would have been comparatively inefficacious; and without
such work as Butler and Warburton did, Wesley's and Whitefield's work
would have been, humanly speaking, impossible."
So today, the church cannot evangelize unless she is certain of her
evangel. Dean Homrighausen of Princeton Seminary notes that "a decline
in evangelistic zeal is always the result of a loss of dynamic faith in the
For Paul, the cardinal doctrines of an evangelistic theology were sum-
med up in two phrases: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat
of Christ ... for the love of Christ constraineth us" (II Corinthians 5:10,
These tell us something about man: that man is a sinner who stands
condemned under the judgment of God, but that man can also be redeemed
by the love of God, which acted in the death of Jesus Christ for our re-
As Denney put it, "There are two interests that Christian theology must
keep in view. On the one hand, the effects of sin on human nature, and
especially on the human will must be such that man needs a redeemer; on
the other hand, it must only be such that he remains susceptible of redemp-
tion." No man who is not deeply convinced both about man's sin and the
possibility of man's salvation will be an effective evangelist.
In recent days we have been told that we must no longer appeal to man
as a sinner in need of salvation. Man, says Dietrich Bonhoeffer (in his later
writings), has "come of age". The Gospel message must be adjusted to ap-
peal to "modern man", who is self-assured, and no longer needs the tutelage
of God, let alone to be reconciled to Him.
Surely this does not accord with the tragic facts of twentieth century
life. Science, for all its assured results, is morally neutral. Scientists seek at
the same time a way to cure cancer and to destroy the world. Huston Smith
reported in The Saturday Review of Literature a discussion by scientists at
a "Conference on Science and Human Responsibility" at Washington Uni-
versity (St. Louis). They could have no easy faith in progress, he said,
because "each step in human advance seems to introduce new problems and
perils along with its benefits. We are constantly finding that even where
advance is unmistakeable it does not result in the elimination or even prob-
able diminution of human ills."
Excellence in education has benefited all mankind. But education has
no more brought man to maturity than has science. Theodore Roosevelt
once said, "An ignorant bad man may steal from the freight cars on the
railroad. If you educate that man without changing his heart, all you're
doing is making it possible for him to steal the whole railroad!" The dis-
turbing fact is that the worst wars in history have been fought by the edu-
cated, civilized nations.
A former professor of anthropology at an African university, Dr. Busia,
wrote poignantly about a book, written by an English journalist who traveled
in the Ashanti country in central Ghana in the early nineteenth century.
The Englishman described a tribal purification ceremony he witnessed, in
which two human sacrifices were led down to a river, knives poked through
their cheeks, and sacrificed to their idols. "I was glad that I belonged to a
civilized country", was the reaction of the journalist. Dr. Busia said that
in 1945 he was studying in Oxford. Browsing in a bookstop one day he idly
picked up a pictorial record of the Second World War. As he turned the
pages he saw pictures of Dachau, Belsen, and Auschwitz, with the gas ovens,
the bleached bones, and the crematoriums.
"I bought that book", said Dr. Busia, "and I got a scrapbook. On one
page I put a picture of an old African chief with his tribal markings, and
under it I marked 'Africa 1817'. On the other page I put a picture of the
gas ovens at Auschwitz, and under it I placed 'Europe, 1945' with no other
We should pay sober heed to Leon Morris' warning that "In some re-
spects this is a most callous and unenlightened age. We should not forget
that it is modern man who has designed and used the Atom Bomb. Though
he has great facilities for production and distribution, it is modern man
who acquiesces in a situation where some of the world's population have
more than enough of this world's goods so that they live in affluence, while
others go to bed hungry every night. There is a constant and bloody carnage
on our roads, though few of us have any conscience about it. The prevalence
of psychoses and neuroses in modern man makes depressing reading, as
does the growth of juvenile delinquency. Our attitude to the colour bar,
our shameless exploitation of sex, our ready tolerance of the miseries
necessarily attendant on the way drink and gambling are used in our com-
munities are other examples ... it makes a high-sounding phrase for Bon-
hoeffer to talk about man as 'come of age'. But it does not accord with the
But more important, man's supposed maturity does not accord with the
plain teaching of scripture.
"The New Testament speaks of the lost sheep of the house of Israel;
of the lost brother; of the lost coin; of the lost sheep. Jesus said He came
to seek and save that which was lost. Paul said that the world which rejects
the cross of Christ is lost (cf. II Corinthians 4:3). To be lost means to be
astray from the purposes of God for humanity; to be lost means to die in
one's sins, i.e., in a state of unforgiveness; to be lost means to be exposed to
the wrath of the Lamb which is to come; to be lost means to be subject to
a final, irremedial judgment of God. It is the universal assumption of the
New Testament that men without Christ and without God are lost and need
a Saviour." (Bernard Ramm)
Urgency comes as I share the mind of Christ who plainly taught that
some men will enter into eternal punishment, and others into eternal life
(Matthew 25:46), who saw men at home with God or away from home,
as saved or lost.
These phrases of Paul also tell us something about God: That God is
light, and that God is love. The man who is not deeply convinced about the
holy and righteous wrath of God, of the inevitability of judgment, that it
is "appointed unto men once to die and after this the judgment" (Hebrews
9:27), is not likely to make an effective evangelist. Tom Allan once told
me that he felt the denial of God's judgment had cut for years the nerve-
cord of evangelism in Scotland. To many moderns, that God can punish
seems to need explanation. To the early Christians, that God could forgive
was the amazing thing. Could it be that we need again to see the God who
is "high and lifted up", before whom the angels, covering their faces, cry
"Holy, holy, holy"?
Then we will feel a new urgency to reach lost and sinful men, facing the
judgment of a holy God, and "knowing the terror of the Lord, we (will)
persuade men" (II Corinthians 5:11).
But most deeply, it is "the love of Christ" that constrains us. That this
God before whom we must appear, has so loved men as to send Jesus to
die for them, that He was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself and
not imputing their trespasses unto them, that He has made Him who knew
no sin to be sin for us, this is what compels us to become ministers of the
We find evangelistic compulsion in the knowledge that God "so loved
the world". His love was not a vague and sentimental benevolence. It was
a costly and holy love in action. "God commended His love toward us, in
that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
There is an historical exclusiveness about Jesus Christ. God has spoken
a loving word, but a unique and final word in Him. This is the "once-for-all-
ness" of the Gospel, the "offence of the cross", the "hard particulars" of the
kerygma. God sent His son into the world not to condemn, but to save. But
there is a condemnation if men love darkness, and reject the light. Our
Lord said, "He that honoreth not the Son honoreth not the Father which
hath sent Him."
P. T. Forsyth once said, "You may always measure the value of Christ's
cross by your interest in Missions. The missionless church betrays that it is
a crossless church, and it becomes a faithless church."
Paul also found his evangelistic urgency in the realm of experience —
the Christ-filled heart. "With us, therefore, worldly standards have ceased
to count in our estimate of men . . . When anyone is united to Christ, there
is a new world; the old order has gone, and the new order has already be-
gun" (II Corinthians 5:16a, 17, New English Bible). When the Christ of the
judgment seat and the Christ of the cross becomes the Christ of the heart,
we cannot help looking at others through new eyes — the eyes of Christ —
and sharing with them the one who means so much to us.
The real presence of the living Christ was the authentic first-hand key
note of New Testament evangelism. "Come see a man who told me all things
that ever I did", invited the woman of Samaria. "Once I was blind, now I
see", was the straight-forward testimony of the blind man. "We have found
the Messiah", cried Andrew to Peter. And Peter later echoed, "We cannot
help but speak the things which we have seen and heard." An irresistible im-
pulse to share came surging from within.
So it has been through the Christian centuries. Charles Wesley, captive
of the grace of the Saviour, sang,
"My heart is full of Christ, and longs
It's glorious matter to declare!
Of Him I make my loftier psalms,
I cannot from His praise forebear;
My ready tongue makes haste to sing
The glories of my heavenly King."
D. T. Niles gives this gem of a definition: "Evangelism is one beggar
telling another beggar where to find bread." I, a poor beggar, have fed my
starving soul on Christ, the Bread of Life — and from the deep satisfaction
and strength He has brought, I witness to others of His plenty.
When our witness does not flow from the evangelical experience, we be-
come like the baseball announcer in San Diego, California who broadcasts
descriptions of all games by the local baseball club. If the team is on the
road, he gives a play-by-play description from a ticker tape account of the
game fed to him from the other city. Suspended from the ceiling in the
studio is a baseball bat. Near the announcer is a leather chair, and by his
hand is a cane. When he hits the leather chair with the cane, it sounds ex-
actly like a pitch thumping into the catcher's mitt. When he whacks the
bat with the cane, it sounds exactly like the crack of a ball against a bat.
The announcer reads the tape — "The pitcher rears back and throws a hard
fast one" — Thwack! Goes the cane on the chair — "High and outside, ball
one!" Again the tape clicks out its message. "Here comes a curve ball —
O'Malley swings" — Whack! goes the cane against the bat — "It's a long one
into right field — it's going — it's going — it's gone!" The announcer turns a
knob and the volume comes up on a record of simulated crowd noise. If
you are listening to the ball game by radio, you'd vow the announcer is
sitting behind home plate at the ball park. There is the brilliant descrip-
tion, the baseball jargon, the sounds of the game. You can almost smell the
popcorn! It sounds real, but the announcer is talking about something he
has not seen.
It is entirely possible for us to go through a description of the Christian
game — with all the brilliant reporting, all the correct sounds, all the Christ-
ian jargon — and yet, unlike Peter, be describing things which we have not
seen and telling things which we have not heard.
What a hollow ring there is to evangelism, when it does not overflow
from the Christ-filled heart. Then it degenerates into proselytism — an argu-
ing of individuals into a position or a party-line, or a recruiting of them
into an organization, rather than an introducing of people to a Person. No
wonder the world so often mocks and resists our travesty of evangelism. We
are like the exorcists, the sons of Sceva in Acts 19, who ordered the devils
to come out "in the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches." Note: "The Jesus
whom Paul preaches". It was not "the Jesus whom we know". They were
trying to imitate a performance, not sharing a reality. The demon replied,
"Jesus I know, and I am acquainted with Paul, but who on earth are you?"
And the man in whom the evil spirit was living sprang at them and over-
powered them all with such violence that they rushed out of that house
wounded with their clothes torn off their backs (Acts 19:15, 16, Phillips).
Neither should we be surprised if we try to evangelize on the basis of a
proxy faith, in the name of the Jesus whom Barth preaches, or Macartney or
Graham, or Peale, and retreat defeated and wounded. If we cannot say
with Paul, "I know whom I have believed", then our first task is to get on
our knees with our Bibles and seek Christ until we can.
Our urgency is that of the Christian ambassador, under strict orders
from his sovereign King. One of my Presbyterian Seminary professors used
to say, "Young man, do you believe in the sovereignty of God? Then obey
your sovereign God when He tells you to go into all the world and preach
the Gospel!" En route to the African Crusades in 1960, our plane touched
down briefly at Dakar in West Africa. A French pastor, missionary of the
Reformed Church, came out to meet us for coffee. We found he had labored
in that Muslim center for 10 years. One of the group asked, "How many
converts have you had?" "Oh," he thought, "One, two — perhaps three."
"Three converts in ten years! Why do you stay?" "Why do I stay?" His
face mirrored his surprise at the thoughtless question. "I stay because Jesus
Christ put me here!"
Jesus Christ put us here; that is our urgency. J. I. Packer shows that
this is implicit in the very titles that Paul uses to describe the ministers of
the Gospel. We are stewards of Christ. "Let a man so account of us as . . .
stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that
a man be found faithful" (I Corinthians 4:1,2). The steward is a trustee.
So this word underlines the responsibility of our office. We are heralds of
Christ. In II Timothy 1:10 Paul writes of "the Gospel: Whereunto I am
appointed a preacher (herald)." The preacher or herald is appointed to
deliver a specific message by his Royal Master. So this term highlights the
authenticity of our message. We are also ambassadors for Christ (II Corin-
thians 5:20). An ambassador is the authorized representative of his govern-
ment. So this title emphasizes the authority of our mission.
It has pleased God to join together the work and the word of reconcilia-
tion. That work which Jesus Christ did for men, becomes affective in men
as the Spirit of God uses the word proclaimed by His ambassadors. "It
pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (I
Corinthians 1:21). "Faith," says Paul, "comes by hearing, and hearing by
the Word of God. How then shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans
Paul most certainly did not believe that preaching the Word of the
Cross was a sort of elective, since men were already saved. Indeed, he was
conscious that the very act of evangelistic preaching could be a means of
hardening the unbelieving hearer. "For we are unto God a sweet savour
of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one we
are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto
life. And who is sufficient for these things?" (II Corinthians 2:15, 16).
You recognize that "if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost,
in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe
not lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ should shine unto
them" (II Corinthians 4:3, 4).
Paradoxically, it is as we obey Christ's command, that urgency and
compassion come. We are not just to wait indefinitely until we get a great
passion. Rather we should rethink the truths of our commission, re-examine
the freshness of our walk with the Lord, and then go out and speak to
someone about Christ! How often I have discovered in doing this that once
the barrier of hesitation is crossed, the word of witness begun, the old thrill
comes surging back! It is like the athlete who gets out of condition. He
dreads to start training again. It takes tremendous will power to begin again
that first day as he works out. But once he begins to feel the pull of his
muscles and the flow of his energy, you can't stop him!
If the reader will pardon another personal word, I have found that my
own spiritual life is usually much healthier when I am in the midst of some
evangelistic endeavor. Now that is a confession, I know, of my own spiritual
fickleness. But it is also a revelation, I believe, of a spiritual law. As I see
people coming to Christ, I relive vicariously my own spiritual birth. It is a
renewing catharsis. (This is similar to the insistence of AA, that the re-
covered alcoholic must always give himself in helping someone else who
has the same problem, if he is to stay sober himself) . The Christian church
and the Christian person remains healthy only as one hand is stretched up
to receive from God, and the other is stretched out to share with man.
This then is the source of our urgency — not merely a cold theological
deduction; not frothy, unstable experience; not grim stoic obedience; but
the ready response of our entire personality to the grace of the Lord Jesus
Christ. He is the great evangelist. And it is Christ in my mind, Christ in
my heart, and Christ in my will, who makes me an evangelist.
Lay the urgency that comes from Christ's saving authority along side the
movements we mentioned earlier.
Put against a creeping universalism this: "There is none other name
under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12)
and this: "He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but he that believeth
not is condemned already" (John 3:18).
Put against a mechanical ecclesiasticism this: "For in Christ Jesus neither
circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature"
Put against a distorted Calvinism this: "God . . . hath committed unto
us the word of reconciliation" (II Corinthians 5:19).
Put against a man-centered activism this: "No man knoweth the Son,
but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and
he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him" (Mathew 11:27).
And put against an eccentric evangelicalism this: "Lovest thou me?
Feed my sheep" (John 21:17).
As Hendrik Kramer has well said, "We evangelize, not because we have
the truth, but because the truth, namely Jesus Christ, has us, and wills to
have all men everywhere."
Let us close as we began, with a word from Samuel Zwemer. Once, when
addressing a student convention on the needs of the Islamic World, he
closed his appeal by walking over to a great map of the Muslim lands,
spreading his arms over it, and saying, "Thou, O Christ, art all I need; and
Thou, O Christ, art all they need."
He is our urgency.
THE EVANGELISTIC TASK
C. Darby Fulton
Thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead
the third day: and that repentance and remission of sins
should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning
at Jerusalem. — Luke 24:46, 47.
These were the words spoken by our Lord in His last hours with His
disciples, just before His ascension into heaven, as He opened their under-
standing that they might understand the Scriptures. They hold in epitome
the substance and content of the Gospel the disciples were to preach.
At first sight it may appear that there is a certain incongruity in the
juxtaposition of these three propositions. For two of them seem to deal
with the great historical facts on which our Christian hope is based, the
very foundations of our faith — the death and resurrection of our Lord — ;
while the third — the proclamation of repentance and remission of sins in
His name among all nations — might seem to belong, not to the substance
of our faith, but rather to the realm of obedience and action, or, to put it
differently, to the program of the Church.
But a second look at this text reveals a striking coordination of the
three affirmations it presents. Even the grammatical form is the same: to
suffer; to rise; to be preached. And all of these are a part of the Gospel,
the third proposition no less than the first two. For the death and resurrec-
tion of the Christ are not the Good News in the fullest sense until it is
added that by repentance and faith in Him and His atoning work the
forgiveness of sins is offered to all men. Good News does not become
good news until it is proclaimed. The word of salvation is a part of the
The centrality of the proclamation is graphically demonstrated in the
Book of Acts: (1) In the immediate response of the disciples. At Pentecost,
within minutes after the coming of the Holy Spirit whose advent they had
been commanded to await, they began preaching to the world; and within
one generation the Gospel had been carried to almost every nation then
known. (2) In the content of their preaching. The death and resurrection
of Christ were central, but along with these was the glad offer of forgive-
ness to all who by repentance and faith would receive the proffered mercy
and grace of God. This, too, is the Gospel.
This address was delivered in the Chapel of Columbia Theological Seminary. Dr.
C. Darby Fulton, a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, U. S., was for
many years Executive Secretary of the Board of World Missions. For the past
four years he has been Professor of Missions at the Seminary.
I do not believe that a careful study of Scripture will reveal any founda-
tion for the idea that God's grace and salvation are automatically effective
for the universal redemption of men. The Gospel does not operate except
in a context of acceptance and faith. This is the consistent teaching of the
New Testament. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved",
was the word to the Philippian jailer. John, in his Gospel, writes: "But as
many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of
God, even to them that believe on his name." And again, "that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." Yet again:
"He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is
condemned already." The writings of Paul are so replete with such references
as to be almost redundant. He speaks of being "justified by faith," of "the
righteousness which is by faith", and of the righteousness which is "unto
all and upon all them that believe." Then there is that sublimely logical
statement in the tenth chapter of his letter to the Romans where he wries:
"The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that
is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with
thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the
heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confes-
sion is made unto salvation. For the Scripture saith, Whosoever
believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference
between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich
unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name
of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom
they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom
they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written. How
beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and
bring glad tidings of good things! ... So then faith cometh by
hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
What shall we say to these things? If it has pleased God by the foolish-
ness of preaching to save them that believe; if it be true that faith comes
by hearing, and that by faith a man may lay hold on eternal life; and if
it be true that this is a part of the Good News we are commissioned to
preach; how can we state strongly enough the supreme importance of
the apostolic function, both for you and me as ministers of the Word
of Life and for the Church which is His witness in the world?
Yet, for the most part, we have been inclined to think of Apostology
or Missions as relating primarily to the program of the Church and only
remotely to her creeds and confessions or the substance of her theology.
When have you read an outline of theology which includes a section on
Apostology or its equivalent? Presbyterian theologians of the past genera-
tion like Dabney and Hodge have given scant attention to Missions in their
extended works on Dogmatics. This is not to imply that they were indifferent
to the Church's apostolic mandate and function. There are strong testimonies
by these able theologians that effectively refute any such charge. But the
fact remains that the subject of Apostology finds little place in the formal
theological treatises that they had produced.
Similarly, the formal confessions and catechisms of the Reformed
churches have had little to say directly on the subject of Missions, and
such references as do occur are often the result of recent revisions. Our
own Confession of Faith was almost devoid of missionary content until
a new chapter was added in 1941, "OF THE GOSPEL", a brief but admir-
able statement of the theology of Missions.
In this respect, even the Apostles' Creed must be recognized as only
a truncated statement of our faith. If I am to affirm solemnly that I believe
in the "communion of saints", why should I not with equal conviction
stand and confess that I believe in "the proclamation of the Good News
in all the earth"?
One of the encouraging developments of recent years is the new and
lively interest in the study of the theology of Missions. The past two decades
have seen the publication of countless books and monographs which seek
to elaborate the theological bases on which the missionary enterprise rests.
Much of the research being done in this field is strongly Bible-centered. It
gives promise of bringing Apostology into the very center of our theological
thinking and recognizing its vital place in the credo of the Church.
In all this we are not thinking in terms of home or foreign missions.
Rather, we are concerned with the whole world of lost men, near or far,
that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to
all. The unbelieving world grows larger from year to year. There are more
people living today who do not know Christ than there were yesterday. It
is to them that the Good News must go, and you and I have been called
to Apostleship, sent by the Living Christ to proclaim His grace and salvation.
I stood one night on the hilltop just above my home in Japan where I
lived as a missionary for eight years. Around the foot of the hill was built
the compact little city of Okazaki with its fifty thousand inhabitants. The
lights were twinkling down in the town and the fresh breeze that swept
in from the sea brought to me with unusual clearness the sounds of life
below. Carts were rumbling in the streets. From a restaurant across the way
came the raucous voices of Geisha as they entertained their drunken patrons
with shrill songs, loud laughter and lewd jokes. I heard the incessant clanking
of hammers on chisels as the stonecutters in their shops carved out graven
images for an idolatrous people. From a nearby house came the rhythmic
beat of a mokugyo as priests in monotonous tone chanted a ritual for the
dead. Every sound suggested a spiritual darkness blacker than the night
around me, though God with His finger had written His name in the stars
overhead. Out there, beyond the last blinking light of the town, were other
souls, more than four hundred thousand of them, scattered through my
field. It came to me like a shaft into my heart that they had never had a
chance and I was the only one there who could tell them of Christ and
offer His light and salvation. I went on my knees in the darkness on the
hill. "Oh God," I prayed, "Extend these hands; make my feet more swift,
my lips more eloquent, my heart more tender, that somehow I might reach
these people". I think I knew that night something of what Paul meant
when he said, "I am debtor".
Yes, I am "debtor": to the Lord who loved me and gave Himself for
me; to the last man out there who has never met the Saviour face to face;
and to the obligation laid upon me as a Christian to be a bearer of the
glad tidings that Christ died and rose again, and that remission of sins
is offered in His name to all who repent and believe.
THE HERITAGE OF THE SOCIAL GOSPEL
Neely Dixon McCattet
Charles Hopkins has said that America's "unique contribution to the
great ongoing stream of Christianity is the 'social gospel.' '" The purpose of
this essay is to consider the Social Gospel as an aspect of our heritage as
American Christians who are seeking to think and live obediently in the
present age. Professor Sidney Mead suggests that the
historical interpretation of the past by a modern mind is a pushing
toward a more and more complete understanding of the forces that
have shaped that mind and made it what it is. In this sense the goal
of historical study is self knowledge ... It is a kind of self-knowledge
that ... is of the essence of human freedom. For one is about as
much the slave of the forces that have shaped him — that is, of his
past — as he is ignorant of them — or of it. Only insofar as one is
consciously aware of the dynamic forces within the culture in which
he has been nurtured, as a fish is in water, is he freed to make in-
telligent choices regarding them. 2
Admittedly, our topic, "the Social Gospel," is nebulous. Let us seek
some form of definition before proceeding. The term in its broadest sense
is used to refer to the character of the Christian religion during the mid-
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Social Catholicism and Christian
Socialism, the names of movements during the era, indicate something of
the nature of the Christianity of the years from 1850 to 19 17. 3 In the
United States, as well as in other countries, there was a new manifestation
of an aspect of the Hebrew-Christian religion — social concern. It is the
American Protestant expression of this concern for social ethics during
the years from 1900 to 1917 that occupies our attention in this essay. The
term, Social Gospel, unless otherwise indicated, refers to this American
Shailer Mathews, one of the spokesman for the American movement,
defined the Social Gospel as "the application of the teaching of Jesus
and the total message of the Christian salvation to society, the economic
life, and social institutions ... as well as to individuals." 4 The crux of the
Social Gospel was an awareness of the collective nature of good and evil
which demands direct action of social reconstruction and the restatement
of individualistic theology. The Social Gospel movement was this response
1. C. H. Hopkins, The Rise of the Social Gospel in American Protestantism
1865-1915, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1940), p. 3.
2. "Church History Explained," New Theology No. 1, ed. M. Marty and D.
Pearman (N.Y.: The Macmillan Co., 1964), p. 83.
3. Paul A. Carter, The Decline and Revival of the Social Gospel, (Ithaca: Cor-
nell University Press, 1954), p. 4.
4. Shailer Mathews, "Social Gospel," A Dictionary of Religion and Ethics (N.Y.:
J. Macmillan Co., 1921), pp. 416-417.
This paper was delivered at the Interdepartmental Graduate Seminar on American
Theology at Emory University. Dr. McCarter is newly promoted Professor of
on the part of Christians to the changing social situation. It cannot be de-
fined precisely in terms of theology or institutions. 6
Having offered this definition, one must hasten to add that the Social
Gospel movement was not monolithic. Various types of social Christianity
obtruded upon the scene during the seventy years under discussion. Henry
F. May, looking back upon the movement, finds three major strands. 6 First,
there was a conservative social Christianity. Such people advocated the
permeation of society by regenerated individuals and voluntaristic benevo-
lent activity and social reform. The second classification, radical social
Christianity, stood for a Marxist-type analysis of the situation, an overthrow
of the old system and a completely new start. Finally, there was progressive
social Christianity, which was a middle class phenomenon working for in-
stitutional betterment, but not the wholesale scrapping of the present
society. We will basically focus upon this latter group.
In dealing with the Social Gospel, we shall first survey the origins of the
movement. Next we will concentrate our attention upon Walter Rauschen-
busch as the representative of the Social Gospel come of age. Finally we
will raise the question of the relation of this aspect of our heritage to
The Rise of the Social Gospel
There are those who see the Social Gospel as "an indigenous American
movement receiving its dynamics and its ideology from the social context in
which it grew." 7 There are others who insist that the Social Gospel is the
product of the inner logic and drive of the Church's evangelical quest to
Christianize America. 8 For the purposes of this paper we shall agree with
H. Richard Niebuhr, who argued that sociological studies can explain why
a religious stream flowed in particular channels but they cannot adequately
account for the force of the stream itself. We shall look, therefore, to the
sociological factors of the era as well as to the living faith of the Church
for an explanation of the rise of the Social Gospel movement. 10
5. Sidney Mead, The Lively Experiment (N.Y.: Harper & Row, 1963), p. 178.
6. Henry F. May, Protestant Churches and Industrial America (N.Y. : Harper
and Brothers, 1949), pp. 163-203. See also Paul Carter, op. cit., pp. 12, 13.
7. Hopkins, op. cit., p. 326.
8. Representatives of this group include Robert Handy, "The Protestant Quest
for a Christian America, 1830-1930", Church History, XXII, pp. 8-20; Tim-
othy Smith, Revivalism and Social Reform (N.Y.: Abingdon, 1957), p. 148
and Paul Carter, op. cit., p. 10.
9. H. Richard Niebuhr, The Kingdom of God in America, (N.Y.: Willett Clark
and Co., 1937), pp. vii, viii.
10. Robert Handy, Church History, XXII, p. 16; Stow Persons, "Religion and
Modernity, 1865-1914," The Shaping of American Religion, ed. J. W. Smith
and A. L. Jamison, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961), pp. 369-70.
Herbert W. Schneider makes this observation about our American situation:
"The cultural context of religion in America is not something arbitrarily cre-
ated by a particular point of view or by an editorial policy; it is intrinsic to
American religion. It may be possible to isolate creeds, church governments,
dogmas, saints, and sacraments from a particular civilization or even from
civilization in general; and it may be possible to view life from the point
of view of religion rather than religion as a kind of life, but such an abstrac-
tion does violence to American experience and culture. Here religion is
intrinsic to a civilized life and to the other 'humanities.' " Religion In 20th
Century America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1952) p. vi.
Following the Civil War the United States passed through days of rapid
change and extreme reaction. The assumed peace, justice and reconstruction
won by a bloody war soon turned into the "Great Barbecue." Unrestricted
economic competition, the conflicts between capital and labor, the unrest
of the farmer in an age of industrialization, and the problems of the rapid-
ly developing urban centers symbolize the changes that were taking place
in the texture of American life. Add to these the problems of mass immi-
gration, the nature of charity, the disintegration of the family in industrial-
urban areas, new economic theories, 11 the rise of socialism as a viable form
of government, and the ethics of wealth and you will see something of the
tremendous turmoil of the period. Here we have the cluster of social prob-
lems which spawned the Social Gospel era. 12
Permeating the social ferment and contributing to it was a strong appre-
ciation if not reverence for the methods and discoveries of science. Men
were putting the theory of evolution to social usage. This together with
socialism contributed to a new awareness of the organic nature of society
with its corollaries of interdependence, social duties, and the importance of
Americans, up until this time, had always conceived of themselves as a
nation of farmers. There grew up a considerable mythology concerning the
noble yet rugged nature of the frontier, honest farmer. When the society be-
gan to shift and the focus came to be the cities with their industrial mag-
nets, there was a certain psychological discomfort experienced by the farm-
er. In addition there was an international agrarian depression during the
1890's. 14 Considerable unrest developed among the farmers of the South
and the Northwestern states of Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas. Add to
this the upheaval over silver found in the mountain states and one has the
main ingredients of the Populist movement. Populism is important for this
study in that it was the first modern political movement of significance in
America to insist that the federal government assume some responsibility
for the problems created by industrialization. In other words, it represents
a major direct action calling for social reconstruction.
The Populist political surge was followed by the Progressive Movement
(1900-1914). Many truly worthy leaders in American society lost their
positions of honor and power to a new generation of industrial financiers.
These displaced leaders furnished the guidance for the Progressive move-
ment. In addition, across America there seemed to be a ground swell senti-
ment for social reform and humanitarian action so that there were ready
followers. Many people were concerned to take some form of action which
would rescue the individual from the clutches of the economic demon which
seemed to be driving America. Therefore attacks were led against trusts
11. R. R. Roberts, "The Social Gospel and the Trust-Busters", Church History,
XXV pp. 248-9.
12. Hopkins, op. cit., pp. 104ff and Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform,
(N.Y.: Vintage Books, 1955), pp. 186-214, 242-4, 286-7, tell us how the
novelists of the time aided the common man's understanding of these issues
and his willingness to do something about them. The novelists popularized
the problems and urged men to help with the social revolution.
13. Dorothea R. Muller, "The Social Philosophy of Josiah Strong: Social Chris-
tianity and American Progressivism", Church History, XXVIII, p. 185.
14. Hofstadter, op. cit., p. 53.
and city bosses as well as liquor traffic and prostitution. As Hofstadter says,
"the Progressive mind was preeminently a Protestant mind." 15 While the
Progressives never won a permanent place as a national party, they did
manage to heighten the level of human sympathy in this country's political
and economic system. 16
I have dwelt on the Populist-Progressive period as a secular force in
the shaping of the Social Gospel. One should not assume, however, that
these political forces merely acted upon ecclesiastical bodies to produce the
Social Gospel. As a matter of fact, ministers were deeply involved in these
political movements. George Herron's exuberant agitations coincided with
the western Populist movement and helped inspire the same. 17 R. R. Roberts
shows how the clergy contributed to the progressive movement 13 while
Hopkins says that the Social Gospel's
greatest stimuli . . . came from the inner liberalizing forces of pro-
gressivism, the ethical implications of which were immediately pro-
ductive of social interests. 19
Though one can argue that Christians aided significantly Populism, Pro-
gressivism and Socialism, 20 one can also agree with Robert Handy's con-
after the Civil War the swiftly and often painfully changing social
scene stimulated widespread interest in economic and social matters
and contributed to extensive rethinking of traditional views on the
part of many Christians. 21
Lawrence Cremin has cogently argued that progressive education in
America was the expression of progressivism within the school system of this
country. 22 So one might argue that the Social Gospel was the expression of
progressivism within the American Church. And as Professor Cremin says
that there had to be a Dewey, that is a leader of progressivism in schools,
so one might conclude that the forces of the era were bound to produce a
Rauschenbusch. And so we have the sociological forces before us: a com-
plex of industrial-urban problems, a reliance on science and a progressive
But there were many elements in the climate which produced Walter
Rauschenbusch. Timothy L. Smith has massed an impressive amount of
research to vindicate his thesis that the Social Gospel grew out of endemic
ecclesiastical movements as well as secular soil. 23 These churchly roots of
the Social Gospel include perfectionism, revivalism, millennialism, and the
forming of benevolent societies.
Professor Burr of Princeton declares unequivocally that "the sources of
the Social Gospel movement may be traced to perfectionist and holiness
15. Ibid., p. 204.
16. Ibid., p. 243.
17. Nelson R. Buff, A Critical Bibliography of Religion in America (Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1961), p. 699.
18. Roberts, op. cit., p. 265.
19. Hopkins, op. cit., p. 55.
20. Hopkins, op. cit., Chp. V, pp. 67ff and Chp. X, pp. 17 Iff.
21. Handy, "Christianity and Socialism in America," Church History, XXI, p. 39.
22. The Transformation of the School (N.Y.: Alfred Knopf, 1962), p. viii.
23. op. cit., esp. pp. 149 and 154.
doctrines that permeated Protestant churches before the Civil War." 34 "Per-
fectionism reflected the great hope for a more perfect society which Richard
Niebuhr argues underlies every period of American church life. It is true
that perfectionism did not appear merely in one form 25 nor was it accepted
by the entire church. 26 Perfectionism or holiness was very strong in Meth-
odist circles and Charles Finney's particular brand radiated from Oberlin
for many years.
This movement created a kind of humanism. That is to say, the focus
of perfectionism was basically upon the person and his mode of life. It was
not difficult for people who had become preoccupied with their own holiness
to transfer some of this concern to the perfecting of mankind or society.
As a matter of theological interest, perfectionism tended to keep com-
pany with Arminianism. Or as Timothy Smith has put it: "Evangelism
spawned Arminianism, and Arminianism of both the Wesleyan and Oberlin
varieties bore perfectionism." 27 Both perfectionism and revivalism seemed to
be agreeable with the folk-romanticism and transcendentalism of the latter
part of the nineteenth century.
Revivalism and its concommitant theology did a great deal to weaken the
hold of Calvinism and open the doors for a new approach to theology. Smith
argues that Albert Barnes, George Cheever, Samuel Schmucher, Robert
Baird, William Boardman and other revivalists had as much to do with the
introducing of progressive and liberal Christianity into this country as did
Horace Bushnell, Mark Hopkins and Washington Gladden. 28 Certainly the
Arminian emphasis upon the human will, the perfectionist's addiction to
human activity and the immanence of a revival God who is close at hand
judging and saving, contributed to the collapse of Calvinism as the domin-
ant theological mode in America.
The Calvinists of Princeton let their concern be known. So did John
Williamson Nevin of the German Reformed Church. He excoriated the
practitioners of the anxious bench and lamented the surrogation of the ob-
jective creeds and catechisms for the revival experience. 29 One might note
in passing that while the experience-centered theology of the revivalists was
generally uninformed by Schleiermacher, the latter was influencing academic
theology during the late 1800's. This means that the reorientation of theol-
ogy by the professional theologians in terms of a more liberal, experience-
centered basis was not foreign to the popular revival religion of the people.
On the contrary, they had much in common. This accounts to some extent
for the smooth modulation from revival theology to liberal social theology.
That the South did not pass through the same kind of social revolution that
the North experienced helps us to understand why a form of pietistic or
individualistic experience-centered theology remained "conventional wis-
24. op. cit., p. 679.
25. Timothy Smith, op. cit., pp. 103-113, 135-147, 211-13.
26. Reference is made here to the rejection of the doctrine by B. B. Warfield.
27. op. cit., pp. 141-2.
28. op. cit., pp. 78-9.
29. The Anxious Bench (Chambersberg, Pa.: Publication Office of the German
Reformed Church, 1944), pp. 124ff.
dom" here while the northern section of the country was appropriating a
more collectivistic experienced-centered theology. 30
Revivalism seemed to be the new form of church life in this country of
religious freedom. The Church was dependent upon persuasion for its mem-
bership and support. 31 Revivalism was the instrument of persuasion. It
stressed a lively activity which was congenial to the American personality.
It placed great emphasis upon concrete numbers and results. People were
at pains to make evident their salvation. Thus they became involved in the
doing of good works or social action.
By its very nature revivalism involved laymen in the active operation
of the Church. The ministers had no more authority than the laymen since
both had had the same religious experience. In fact the ministers were
beholden to the laymen for their financial support.
In addition revivalism tended to cut across denominational lines. In the
rise of the benevolent societies, Christian men of good will from all denomi-
nations worked together. In the latter part of the 19th century when re-
vivalism lost some of its magnetic attraction, the Sunday School move-
ment rose to take its place. Again we see representatives of all denomina-
tions cooperating in an activity of a religious and social nature.
The revivalists not only encouraged participation in benevolent societies
as a sign of regeneration, they also helped to remind church people that
the Bible was as an instrument of personal and social reform. 32 All of the
credit for so seeing the Bible must not be given to the liberal students of the
life and ethics of Jesus. They had their say, as we shall see, but revivalism
had prepared the soil.
A note must be added concerning the millennial theories propogated by
revivalistic theology. The Millerism of 1840's proved illusory, but the
hope it engendered for the kingdom on earth was potent. The post-millen-
nialists among the evangelists did much to encourage the idea of God's
rule on earth and man's role in bringing in such a day. 33
The thesis of these remarks is that roots of the Social Gospel are to be
found prior to the Civil War in the revivalistic-perfectionist movements with-
in the Church. While many of the evangelists involved were individualistic
in their orientation, they contributed to the rise of communal hope and
action. Their very efforts to evangelize or Christianize America opened the
gates of cooperation which culminated in the forming of the Federal Coun-
cil of Churches in 1908 and prepared the way for a more liberal theology. 34
Such internal ferment expressed itself in institutional forms. Hopkins
has documented the increasing frequency with which denominational bodies
30. Kenneth Bailey, Southern White Protestantism in the Twentieth Century,
(N.Y.: Harper & Row, 1964), pp. 1-24.
31. I am indebted to Sidney Mead for this discussion of revivalism. See his The
Lively Experiment, esp. pp. 121-127. Winthrop Hudson argues that voluntary-
ism is the great asset of the American Church, The Great Tradition of the
American Churches (N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, 1953).
32. Timothy Smith, op. cit., p. 216.
33. Timothy Smith, op. cit., p. 236-7, Richard Niebuhr, op. cit., pp. 151-61.
34. Robert Handy, Church History, XXII, p. 13, Richard Niebuhr, op. cit., p. 161.
dealt with social concerns. 35 These folk-expressions of religious obedience
were gradually being combined with a more sophisticated theological ra-
tionale, to which we now turn.
Having mentioned some of the secular currents of the age and having
discussed briefly the movements within the Church, let us turn now to the
formal theology of the era. One might point to several characteristics of
the theology which was being written during the years from 1870 to 1918.
These features are found in European and British as well as American theol-
ogy, though with varying emphases. First there was a preoccupation with
Darwinism. This discussion not only dealt with God's creation and the na-
ture of man, but the place of science and the belief in progress. While the
latter certainly had roots in the prophetic tradition, evolution offered a new
occasion for dealing with the same. 36
A second characteristic of theology during these years was the domi-
nance of historical interest. 87 Again a form of the prophetic view of history
came to the foreground. Men were seriously concerned with the unfold-
ing of God's will within the realm of history. Daily existence was taken
seriously. Also, there was an attempt to recover the historical origin of the
Christian faith. From Strauss' Life of Jesus (1835) on there came a steady
procession of historical studies, climaxed, perhaps, by Harnack's What is
Christianity? Both the past and the present were of vital concern.
A third feature was the interest in practical Christianity. The rather
violent reaction against metaphysical speculation in theology and a new
sanctioning of religious experience turned the attention of the Church to
deeds rather than creeds. Finally, there was great concern for personal
religion. At first this may appear to contradict all we have said about the
movements toward a solidaristic understanding of man. These two are not
in opposition. Seen from within the Protestant framework, one could be
interested in personal religion as well as the social dimensions of the person
and his religion. Thus the heritage of F. D. Maurice did not seem to refute
the individual religious experience examined by William James. Nor did
Royce's concern for community prevent Rauschenbusch from speaking of
With these general features of the theology written during the period be-
fore us, let us look at some of the influences upon the American theology
of the day. A. C. McGiffert, Jr., in his The Rise of Modern Religious Ideas,
believes that the Social Gospel of Washington Gladden and others came
directly from the liberal theology of Bushnell. McGiffert believes that Bush-
nell's Christian Nurture did more to break down individualism and establish
a solidaristic view of man than did any other single person or book. Bushnell
35. op. cit., pp. 112-116.
36. Niebuhr, op. cit., pp. 190-191.
37. For a discussion of the various forms this historical interest took, see Hans
Frei, "Niebuhr's Theological Background," Faith and Ethics, ed. Paul Ramsey
(N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, 1957), pp. 21ff. One must call attention to the
fact that the American Church tended to be history-less. Since experience was
the basis of thought and action, one did not need to trace out the roots of
the history of doctrine or the continuing Body of Christ in its obedience
through the ages. Without any training in the history of the Church, American
churchmen could accept these new interpretations without a great deal of
also contributed to a new emphasis upon the role of experience in theology,
to the abolishing of the old distinction between natural and supernatural (or
grace and nature) as well as upon a type of evolutionary or progressive
Christian experience. Clearly Bushnell served as a leaven to the lumps.
Another New England influence was unitarianism.
Joseph H. Allen, Our Liberal Movement in Theology (Boston, 1882)
and George Willis Cooke, Unitarianism In America (Boston, 1902)
both indicate one of the origins of the Social Gospel in the unitarian
stress upon ethics and good life, the dignity and divine possibilities
of man, achievement of salvation from cultivation of character,
and the importance of the present life. 88
From England came the Christian Socialist thought and actions of F. D.
Maurice and Charles Kingsley. Men like W. D. P. Bliss were influenced by
such Britishers. 8 * Certainly the Christological and corporate concerns of
Maurice foreshadow the emphases of the American Social Gospel.
As has been mentioned, revivalism in America paved the way for an ex-
perience-centered theology. Schleiermacher's formal re-orientation of theol-
ogy in Christian experience was followed by the work of the nineteenth cen-
tury historians. These forces combined in the post-Kantian world to produce
a strand of theology which focussed upon the Jesus of history and the use-
fulness of the faith rather than upon a logical system of theology or the
perpetuation of any particular theological tradition.
In the latter years of the nineties continental New Testament Scholar-
ship mediated through British scholars and a few Americans who had
studied in Germany, began to make itself felt in the United States.
This discovery of the Jesus of history furnished the growing social
gospel movement with ethical and religious formulae according to
which it eagerly constructed for itself a rationalistic and autonomous
foundation that not only rested the kingdom of hope upon the ethics
of Jesus but afforded a frame of reference within which either a
theistic or a humanistic social creed might be phrased. 40
The practical Christianity of Ritschl is not only seen in the Reverend
Edward Hale's article in 1889 entitled "Can our Churches be Made More
Useful?"" but also acknowledged in Lawrence Schwab's book, The Kingdom
of Gcd (1897). Rauschenbusch openly quotes with approval Schleiermacher
and Ritschl and even refers to Troeltsch's new work on the social teaching
of the Church. In short, by overt acknowledgement as well as by theme and
emphasis, classical German liberalism did contribute to American liberal
currents including the Social Gospel.
Professor Carter sees two poles or centers of force.* 2 The first stressed
the kingdom of God with its doctrine of the immanence of God and prog-
ress in history. A second cluster used the individual ethic of the personality
of Jesus as it was developed by Harnack. The more radical group accepted
the kingdom theology and sought to institutionalize and socialize the judg-
38. Burr, op. cit., p. 696.
39. See Hopkins, op. cit., Chp. 10, as well as pp. 6-7, 23, 32; Handy, Church
History, XXI, p. 45-46.
40. Hopkins, op. cit., p. 205.
41. Ibid., p. 106.
42. Paul Carter, op cit., p. 15.
ments of Christianity upon society. The ethics of Jesus was used to deepen
the personal basis for the Christian's judgment on society but tended to
manifest itself in settlement houses, social work, stewardship and the like.
Having adumbrated the climate of the age and indicated some of the
theological currents that were involved in the Social Gospel, let us look at
the thought of Walter Rauschenbusch.
//. Walter Rauschenbusch
Walter Rauschenbusch stands as the quintessence of American Christian-
ity of the early 1900's. His personal life reflects the American experience.
He came from a pious, soul-seeking, minister's home. He spent the early
days of his ministry in the throbbing heart of a great city; this personal ex-
perience of Hell's Kitchen altered his understanding of the Christian faith.
He identified with American culture in that he shared in the social move-
ments and currents of prevalent thought. Yet as many other American
churchmen, before and after Rauschenbusch, he listened with an apprecia-
tive ear to the German theologians of the day.
The life's work of this man seems to epitomize our American version of
Christianity. He understood himself to be a part of the American evangelical
tradition. On numerous occasions he insisted that his work was a form of
evangelism. "The social gospel is the old message of salvation, but enlarged
and intensified." 43 Concerning his book, Christianizing The Social Order,
Evangelism always seeks to create a fresh conviction of guilt as a
basis for a higher righteousness, and this book is nothing if it is not
a message of sin and salvation."
Here one can observe a revivalist pattern: convict men of their sin and
then offer them a new way. Winthrop Hudson is correct, therefore, in
assigning Rauschenbusch to the tradition of Charles Finney. 45
As the earlier revivalists were concerned about personal salvation as
well as social action, so was Walter Rauschenbusch. He maintained that
personal regeneration as well as social reconstruction were his aims. One
did not exclude the other. 46
Rauschenbusch was eager to be practical. That is, he wanted to get the
job done. Religion for him was relevant; it had something to say to the
immediate situation; it provoked and produced programs of action. Ameri-
can activism and practicality are reflected in this man. This being the case,
it was natural that Rauschenbusch should lay much emphasis upon the
involvement of laymen, which is also a feature of American Christianity.
Add to these characteristics that of a low doctrine of the Church and
you will have something of a profile of both Walter Rauschenbusch and
American Christianity. Rauschenbusch stands as a prophet in this tradition.
One of his distinctions was his effort to see his version of the Social
43. Rauschenbusch, A Theology for the Social Gospel (N.Y.: Abingdon Press,
1917), p. 5. Hereafter referred to as TSG.
44. Rauschenbusch, Christianizing the Social Order (N.Y.: Macmillan Co., 1913),
p. ix. Hereafter referred to as CSO.
45. The Great Tradition of the American Church, p. 233.
46. Christianizing The Social Order, pp. 113ff; TSG, p. 5, etc.
Gospel as a continuation of historic Christianity. 47 His first book, Christian-
ity and the Social Crisis, devotes three major chapters to the tracing of the
biblical and ecclesiological roots of his position. He made a noble effort to
read the New Testament in the light of the Old Testament and thus to tie
together the prophetic utterances with the teachings of Jesus. Rauschen-
busch did not intend to deny historic Christianity; he hoped to widen its
scope and deepen its sensitivities. He was not satisfied with either the empty,
individualistic revivalism on the one hand or mere humanism on the other.
His knowledge of history told him that there was more to Christianity than
these apparent heirs.
However Rauschenbusch was not oriented toward the past. While he
imbibed deeply of Church history, he also lived fully in his own time. In
Christianity and the Social Crisis he wrote cogently of the industrial revolu-
tion, poverty, child labor, the relation of the land to the people, work and
wages, morale, air pollution, impure food, housing, political corruption,
monopolies and family life. 48 The economic arena — especially the conflict
between capitalism and some form of socialism, the labor movement and
corporation monopolies — greatly agitated him. Nevertheless his writings
are free of vituperation. Professor Sidney Alstrom notes that his oracular
utterances on social questions set him apart from many other preachers
turned social critic. 49
Rauschenbusch openly acknowledged the influence of the social move-
ments of his day upon his thought. He realized that the Social Gospel was
gaining a foothold in the churches as the result of the "advancing public
"The social movement is the most important ethical and spiritual move-
ment in the modern world, and the social gospel is the response of the
Christian consciousness to it.*' 51
As were other men in his day, Rauschenbusch was deeply influenced by
the scientific-evolutionary thought of the period. 52 This intellectual con-
figuration spawned a great reliance upon scientific knowledge and accom-
plishments. 53 This in turn fed the sense of optimism which seemed to pre-
vail. It is true that Rauschenbusch rejected the inevitability of progress;
nevertheless, he had great faith
in the process of evolution, which might for a time be set back, per-
haps for generations, but which will ultimately succeed. In part this
belief is based on religious faith in the work of God, in part in what
he conceives to be actual facts of history. 54
47. Alstrom, "Theology in America: A Historical Survey", Shaping of American
Religion, ed. by Smith and Jamison (Princeton: Princeton University Press,
1961), p. 295; Rauschenbusch, Christianity and The Social Crisis (N.Y.:
Macmillan Co., 1911), Chapters 1, 2, 3; Burr, op. cit., p. 702.
48. op. cit., Chapter 5, pp. 213ff.
49. op. cit., p. 295.
50. Rauschenbusch, Christianity and The Social Crisis (N.Y.: Macmillan Co.,
191 1), p. 149. Hereafter referred to as C and SC.
51. TSG, pp. 4, 5.
52. Mead, The Lively Experiment, pp. 157ff.
53. Rauschenbusch, C and SC, pp. 209ff.
54. V. P. Bodein, The Social Gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch and Its Relation
to Religious Education (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1944), p. 81.
This strand of scientific-evolutionary thought encouraged an emphasis upon
the immanence of God. Rauschenbusch, like the Old Testament prophets,
saw history as God's workshop. He spoke of God's presence in human
development and history.* 5 He sometimes referred to the "progressive social
incarnation of God," 50 and he felt that "the religious belief that he (God)
is immanent in humanity is the natural basis for democratic ideas" which
we have about God. 5T
Another indication of the influence of this strand of thought on Rausch-
enbusch is his concern for the solidaristic nature of man. Theologically one
can trace this concept to Bushnell, Schleiermacher and Ritschl. 58 In Rausch-
enbusch's conception of the kingdom of God one finds a co-mingling of
secular, social analysis and liberal theology.
The motifs of Rauschenbusch's work are now before us: the Old Testa-
ment prophets, the teachings of Jesus, a complex of social problems, evolu-
tionary progress, a confidence in the work of science, the immanence of
God and the solidaristic nature of man. Rauschenbusch brings these various
themes together into one great symphony which he calls the Kingdom of
According to Rauschenbusch the doctrine of the Kingdom of God "is
itself the social gospel." 69 All other doctrines must be revised so that it be-
comes central and normative.
The Kingdom of God is a dear truth, the marrow of the gospel, just
as the incarnation was to Athanasius, justification by faith alone to
Luther, and the sovereignty of God to Jonathan Edwards. 60
The Kingdom of God is defined as "humanity organized according to the
will of God." 01 The will of God is seen clearly in the consciousness of Jesus
who tells us of the divine worth of life and personality. This means that the
Kingdom of God will always "tend toward a social order*' which comes
closest to guaranteeing "to all personalities their freest and highest develop-
ment." 62 Love is supreme in the Kingdom and must progressively rule in
The highest expression of love is the free surrender of what is truly
our own, life, property, and rights . . . This involves the redemption of
society from private property in the natural resources of the earth,
and from any condition in industry which makes monopoly profits
The reign of love will tend toward the progressive unity of mankind and
yet make individual liberty and opportunity possible.
55. TSG, p. 223.
56. Ibid., p. 148.
57. Ibid., p. 179.
58. Rauschenbusch suggests that "the constructive genius of Schleiermacher
worked out solidaristic conceptions of Christianity which were far ahead of
his time." TSG, p. 27.
59. TSG, p. 131.
60. Ibid. And, we might add, as Paul Tillich declares the New Being to be the
norm in our time. Systematic Theology (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1951), pp. 47ff.
61. TSG, p. 142.
63. Ibid., p. 143.
The Kingdom was initiated by Jesus Christ; it is presently sustained by
the Holy Spirit, and it will be brought to consummation by God himself. 64
The Kingdom is always both present and future. The concept itself is dynam-
ic, for it alludes to the "energy of God realizing itself in human life." 65 Even
the Church exists for this supreme purpose of God.
One must rethink traditional theological problems in terms of the King-
dom of God. Personal salvation is not the supreme end of the Church, rather
even this important matter must be considered in light of God's larger work
in the world. 66 Only within the framework of the Kingdom of God can
the kingdom of evil be understood. 67 And so Rauschenbusch's magnus opus,
A Theology for the Social Gospel, is an attempt to take every major loci of
theology and reconsider it in the light of the Kingdom of God.
From this stance Rauschenbusch could criticize the conservatives for
waiting for another Christ to come to take care of the social evils as well
as chastize the liberals for spending so much time with sterile rationalism
and philosophy. 68 He advocated repentance and faith, 69 for he believed the
best thing we can do in the presence of the social crisis is to be a regenerate
person. 70 While Rauschenbusch hoped that preachers would stir up social
interest and concern, he also realized that Social Gospel ministers ran the
risk of forgetting the Gospel. 71 As one reads Rauschenbusch's own works,
one wonders how often in practice if not theory, he also forgot the Gospel.
The ministry through word and deed of this prophet of the Social Gospel
brought judgment upon the men of his day. At the same time Rauschen-
busch's ministry was in reality a reflection of his day. The problems of the
world and sociological thought furnished him with much of his basic equip-
ment. Like others in and out of the Church, he believed idealistically that
all social reform could be accomplished without force. He sought to aver this
position by showing that Jesus rejected the use of force. 72 In others words, he
allowed the biases of his day to determine his reading of Scripture, the
shape of his theology and the goal of the Church.
Richard Hofstadter points out with reference to the political groups of
the era that men had a penchant for seeing the complexities of social move-
ments, the depth of man's nature, and international balances as simple prob-
lems with simple solutions. 78 So it was with Walter Rauschenbusch, the child
of the age. By good will and co-operation, the exercise of common sense
and faith, man can come near Christianizing the social order. In fact it is
surprising how much of the social order Rauschenbusch assumed to be
Christianized already. 74
64. Ibid., p. 139.
65. Ibid., p. 141.
66. Ibid., pp. 144-5.
67. Ibid., p. 87.
68. Bodein, op. cit., p. 24.
69. C and SC, p. 349.
70. Ibid., p. 351.
71. Ibid., p. 366; Bodein, op. cit., p. 46.
72. C and SC, p. 58; Christianizing The Social Order, p. 58.
73. op. cit., p. 65.
74. Christianizing The Social Order, pp. 128ff. Here he discusses the family, the
Church, educational institutions and political life as "the Christianized sec-
tions of our social order."
So far as Rauschenbusch as a theologian is concerned, we can say that
his major theological treatises reflect the liberalism of his time. He ac-
knowledges his debt to Schleiermacher and uses religious experience as a
basis for much of his theology. 75 He follows Ritschl and Harnack in his
antipathy for metaphysics and his proclivity for the practical, utilitarian
aspects of Christianity. 76 And following the work of Harnack and biblical
scholars, he limited his New Testament sources almost exclusively to the
Rauschenbusch saw nothing wrong with acknowledging that various non-
Christian movements influenced his theology. He was convinced that theolo-
gians always absorb their culture." Therefore he has no difficulty in de-
mocratizing the concept of God, in identifying co-operatives as a biblical
solution to economic problems, and in illumining the Kingdom of God by
the socialism of his day.
This is not to say that Rauschenbusch did not seek to base many of his
insights upon Scripture. His reliance upon portions of the Bible has been
discussed. It is to say, however, that Rauschenbusch never worked out a
methodological statement of the sources of his theology such as Paul Tillich
has tried to do for himself. 78 In short, Rauschenbusch's writings are more
historical and exhortative than theological.
So much for the great prophet of the Social Gospel. Perhaps the follow-
ing quotation by Professor Sidney Mead sums up this phase of our American
heritage, though not all of Mead's remarks can be applied to Rauschenbusch
Keeping in mind that central to the social gospel movement was re-
action against the individualism of pietistic revivalism, the identifica-
tion of Protestant Christianity with economic Laissez faire and the
exploitation of natural and human resources characteristic of in-
dustrial capitalism, we can understand why the movement tended to
swing to the opposite extremes of substituting social concern for in-
dividual Christian experience; of identifying the Gospel with current
schemes for reconstructing society; of judging the work of the Church
on the basis of its effectiveness in furthering social reform; of sub-
stituting sociology for theology. 79
///. Theology today
Third parties in American politics never hope to gain the White House
or control of Congress. They can, however, win by forcing the two major
parties to adopt their program or special concern. 80 In a sense the Social
Gospel acted like an American third party, for the Social Gospel never
developed into a precise theological movement nor did it evolve into an
75. For example, see TSG, p. 31.
76. TSG, pp. 3; 42-43; 149; 230; etc.
77. Ibid., pp. 254-5.
78. op. cit., pp. 34ff.
79. The Lively Experiment, pp. 182, 3. Henry May, Protestant Churches and
Industrial America, pp. 231-2, suggests that the Social Gospel tendency toward
facile optimism was due to its association with the Enlightenment ideas of
American politics and immanence in theology.
80. This idea is developed by Richard Hofstadter, op. cit., p. 97.
ecclesiastical institution. Yet it has colored the theology and institutional
structures of all major denominations in America. 81 This latter statement is
true in a dual sense. The Social Gospel movement made positive contribu-
tions to broadening theology and creating denominational and interdenomi-
national structures. It also caused negative reactions in provoking the use
It is true that fundamentalism was a reaction to liberalism not merely
to the Social Gospel. At the same time, one must admit that American
fundamentalism was tied to a conservative economic-political syndrome. The
socialistic tendencies of the Social Gospel no doubt agitated the conser-
vatives as much as liberal theological ideas.
Nevertheless, we must concede that the fundamentalists were rightly
frightened by the apparent collapse of historic Christianity. 82 The issues of
the day were crowding out the Christian heritage. As we look back upon the
Social Gospel movement, one of the questions we who would theologize
today must ask is this: Can we learn to change with the times without
allowing the changing times to destroy the uniqueness of the Christian
It was, after all, the shifting sands of time which changed the adulations
of the Social Gospel sycophants into a dirge, not the accusations of the
fundamentalists. The social gospelers found it difficult to adjust to the new
world created by the First World War. In addition, they allowed their
movement to become identified with prohibition. 83 But, strangely enough,
the instrument which the Social Gospel movement had spawned, the Federal
Council of Churches, became the means of the Social Gospel's salvation.
The Federal Council did what the fundamentalists could not do; that is, the
Federal Council became the channel for serious, ecumenical debate.
Thus the child of the Social Gospel movement was the means of judg-
ment upon that movement. European theologians attacked American activ-
ities and shabby theology while the World Council meetings offered in-
creasing opportunities for biblical and theological discussions which were
free from the providentialism which allows one to identify with ease certain
local movements as the will of God.
The ecumenical biblical and theological studies have tended to confirm
the Social Gospel's understanding of the corporate nature of man and society
while at the same time drawing American scholars into theological dialogue
which demands at least an awareness of our Christian tradition. 84
Part of our Social Gospel heritage, then, is the current ecumenical mode
Another aspect of our Social Gospel heritage which is meaningful for us
today might be called the heritage of goal-displacement. One man argues
81. Kenneth Bailey even argues that every major white Southern denomination
was influenced by the concerns of the Social Gospel, op. cit., pp. 71, 15-8,
82. Mead, The Lively Experiment, pp. 183-187.
83. The decline of the Social Gospel is brilliantly documented by Paul Carter,
op. cit., pp. 29-96.
84. For example, even the "far out" theologizing of Paul van Buren is done in
dialogue with biblical studies and classical theology; The Secular Meaning
of the Gospel (N.Y.: The Macmillan Co., 1963).
that the Social Gospel helped fill a void. When revivalism became empty
and individualistic salvation and piety seemed unrealistic, the Social Gospel
offered a new goal, that of social reconstruction.
In our own time we have witnessed the flood of people into the Church
only to again be faced with a form of emptiness and an uncertainty as to
our purpose as a Church. For a season pastoral counselling seemed to offer
ministers a medium of service. But such individualistic work had its limita-
tions and today there seems to be a movement from personal counselling
to social involvement. Admittedly there is no vast number of freedom riders
when one considers the total number of Christians in America. But this
"third party" is having broad ramifications. The agitation is forcing the
Church to reconsider its goal. Is the Church called upon to nurse an in-
group or to be a servant for Christ's sake in the world? Is our witness or
evangelism to be limited to an individualistic appeal or shall we bear wit-
ness to and within the structures of secular life?
And so Colin Williams discusses whether our speaking "of penetrating
the public worlds — industry, commerce, leisure, politics — is forcing the
Gospel outside its New Testament range of concern, and is in danger of re-
peating the old mistakes of the Social Gospel." 85
What is the range of the Gospel and the nature of our present witness?
These are the same issues with which the Social Gospel movement wrestled.
What can we learn from our heritage?
1. First, can we not learn that protest groups generally represent a di-
mension of the truth? This means that both the perturbation for the recog-
nition of the changing social and intellectual climate in which the Church
works and the concern for the former ways or historic patterns of church-
world engagement have some elements of the truth. There is no need to
allow the acerbity of another modernist-fundamentalist controversy to split
There are, as a matter of fact, churchmen who are busy devising new
means of witness within the structure of our society while at the same time
reviving the discipline of Bible study and theological concern. 86 Surely we
do not have to retreat either to the personal piety of the fundamentalist or
existentialist variety or to the facile and unequivocal identification of
racial strife with the hand of God.
2. A second thing which we can learn concerning our goal of witness-
ing to the world refers to our doing of biblical and theological study in an
ecumenical context. But since such studies tend to be sterile when separated
from the ongoing events of life, we need also to study our world in dia-
logue with Christians from other lands and with non-Christians. The pur-
pose of such study and participation in life is to avoid the provincialism
which encourages the identification of our insights with God's ways. This
was a weakness of the Social Gospel which we can seek to avoid.
3. A third lesson to be learned about the goal of the Church from the
85. What In The World? (N.Y.: National Council of Churches of Christ in the
86. I have in mind some of the groups mentioned by Colin Williams in What
In The World? and in Where in the World? (N.Y.: National Council of
Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., 1963 ) ; Robert Raines, Reshaping the Chris-
tian Life (N.Y.: Harper & Row, 1964); Elizabeth O'Conner, Call to Com-
mitment (N.Y.: Harper & Row, 1963), the various lay academy groups, etc.
Social Gospel heritage is the necessity to cease attempting to make Christian-
ity practical and relevant. Such efforts not only imply the irrelevance of
Christianity but also suggest that we need to justify the existence of Christ
and His Church. Frantic endeavors to be relevant and practical can be
indicative of worshiping the God of success. The enlargement of the rolls
and the perpetuation of the institution are not the goals of the Church; faith-
ful obedience to God is. The life of the Church whose goal is the latter
might be shaped by the world, for it is in this day and age that we are
called to faithful obedience, but the motivation and the rationale — though
always mixed — should be dominated by the love God revealed in Jesus
Christ. In other words, the Church must have her own reasons for her
service rendered to the world.
4. There is a fourth lesson to be learned. The Church can bring judg-
ment and encouragement simultaneously to the world. The Social Gospel
movement supported and implemented many causes which alleviated suf-
fering and expressed compassion. So in our time the Church can share in
the movements of the secular world which hold possibilities for making
human life more human. 87 This is popularly referred to as responding to
God who is at work in the world. But we must not unequivocally identify
human activity with the work of God. While we debate the validity of the
distinction between the sphere of creation or providence and the sphere
of redemption, we must move on in our agreement that the living God is
at work in the world and that the Church, i.e., those who acknowledge the
Lordship of Christ, must by means of the spectacles of Scriptures seek to
interpret his work in our time. 88
The Church which hears the Word of God spoken in Scripture will be
compelled to speak a word of judgment to a world addicted to sin. But
concern for pure theology, the perfect hermeneutical circle, or a restruc-
tured ecclesiological institution must not prevent present engagement with
the world. In sum, to bring judgment and encouragement simultaneously to
the world involves risks — the risk of absorption by the world and the risk
of self-righteous criticisms blamed on God.
These issues are brought before us clearly in the current discussions of
the relation of church and state. One wonders whether the "two spheres"
make any sense in our time. The debates pertaining to religion in the public
schools reveal our uncertainty as to what should be judged and what should
be encouraged. The problem is compounded for not only does the Church
suffer from goal-displacement but the nation is passing through an identity
87. My obvious reference is to the work of Paul Lehmann's profound restatement
of Christian ethics in Ethics In a Christian Context (N.Y.: Harper & Row,
1963), though many others have contributed to this idea.
88. Colin Williams, What in the World?, pp. 32-38.
89. Howard Moody suggests in Christianity & Crisis, vol. XXIV, pp. 284-88,
no. 24, that America has lost the image of herself as the innocent, pure
hero. The various public utterances of our national leaders indicate that
we are finding it progressively difficult to understand why we must be
involved in the Vietnam fighting or with the giving of aid to underdeveloped
nations or, in short, to even try to be the leader of the free world. Church-
men of our day, taking issue with T. S. Eliot, wonder whether or not we
need ever argue that our society needs Christianity. D. L. Mundy, The Idea
of a Secular Society (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1963) sums up the
And so we return to the place from which we began. We are American
Christians. As such we are infected with the virus of the Kingdom of God.
The symptoms have altered from a concern for the sovereignty of God in
the seventeenth century, to the rule of Christ in the eighteenth century, to
the time of the coming of the Kingdom on earth in the nineteenth. As the
twentieth century got underway, Reinhold Niebuhr, following the lead of
Rauschenbusch, lashed out against the right as well as the left to usher us
into a new era. And in this new era we struggle, using as our shibboleth,
the Lordship of Christ, in our efforts to be obedient in life and in thought.
The Kingdom of God in America is neither an ideal nor an organi-
zation. It is a movement which, like the city of God described by
Augustine in ancient times, appears in only partial and mixed man-
ner in the ideas and institutions in which men seek to fix it. In that
movement we vaguely discern a pattern — one which is not like the
plan of a building or any static thing, but more like the pattern of
a life, a poem or of other things dynamic. It is a New World sym-
phony in which each movement has its own specific theme, yet
builds on all that has gone before and combines with what follows
so that the meaning of the whole can be apprehended only as the
whole is heard. 60
90. H. Richard Niebuhr, op. cit., p. 164.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF
SUFFERING IN KIERKEGAARD
Robert L. Faulkner
Soren Kierkegaard holds a unique place as a father of modern thought
for at least three separate disciplines. Although Kierkegaard would not
have permitted himself to be called a theologian, contemporary theology
must look back to him as one of its chief sources. It would be difficult to
conceive of any of the existentialist theologians or even a Barth, a Brunner,
or a Franz Kafka without the works of Kierkegaard. As different as Jaspers,
Heidegger, and especially Sartre may be from these theologians, they also
have a debt to Kierkegaard as founder and source of the existentialist move-
ment in philosophy. Thirdly, the existentialist schools of psychotherapy are
often referred to as being neo-Freudian. However, a careful study of some
of these schools would indicate that they have not so much revised Freud
as they have systematized and applied Kierkegaard.
Just as it is necessary to have some understanding of the person of
Jesus Christ to understand Christian thought, so, in order to understand any
of the diverse forms of modern existentialist thought, it is necessary to have
some understanding of Soren Kierkegaard. This study seeks to approach
Kierkegaard from the point of view of suffering. There are two reasons for
this somewhat unusual approach.
Suffering is one of the few common threads running through the diverse
existentialist movement. The great amount of attention accorded it makes
it one of the most obvious and most important themes. Theology has al-
ways wrestled with the problem of suffering, but, for the existentialist the-
ologians, it tends to become the central problem. The same might be said
of existentialist philosophy. The currently leading existentialist school of
psychotherapy, Victor Frankl's Logotherapy, seeks to re-orient the individual
toward the meaning of life as understood in the meaning of his own suffer-
ing. Although suffering is not Kierkegaard's main theme, the central place
accorded it in existentialist thought is indicative of his leadership.
But apart from the fact that suffering is a unifying theme of existential-
ist thought, there is a second and less obvious reason for using suffering as
a means by which to interpret Kierkegaard. Established maxims of law
and logic warn us against taking anyone's testimony concerning himself
at face value. Equally familiar canons of literary criticism charge us to
decide an author's intention on the basis of his completed achievement
rather than his programmatic recollections.
Kierkegaard, in The Point of View for my Work as an Author, left an
explanation of his program, as well as a statement of the theme it was in-
tended to convey. In this work, saved for posthumous publication, he con-
Robert L. Faulkner is a graduate student at Columbia Theological Seminary. He
graduated A. B. in Psychology at Emory University and M. D. at Baylor Uni-
versity College of Medicine. He formerly held a preceptorship in psychiatry and
a residency in general surgery at the Confederate Memorial Medical Center,
Shrevcport. He plans to go to the Mission Field under the auspices of the
Southern Baptist Convention.
tends that when he was supposed to be captivating the senses or flattering
the vanities of the worldly wise, he was already fishing for their souls. He
insists that, early in the course of his authorship, he had become convinced
that entirely new resources would be necessary if his contemporaries were
to be converted from the nominal religion they professed, namely Christen-
dom, to the Christianity proclaimed by Christ and Luther. The pseudonyms
or roles were only masks which he assumed as "a spy in the higher service
of an idea". He saw his task as providing a public example of what was
involved in becoming a Christian at a time when everyone blandly sup-
posed himself to be one by accident of birth.
Kierkegaard's explanation of his intent is helpful, but it is apparent in the
light of his entire literary achievement that it is not the whole truth. Much of
his work can be related to this central theme, but this is obviously not all
Kierkegaard is trying to say. To the surprise of no one, some of his most
prominent and enthusiastic disciples have been atheists who have ignored
his Christian theme entirely.
Instead of one theme it would seem that Kierkegaard's polemic moves
simultaneously in two directions; outwardly, against the bourgeois protests
antism of the Denmark of his time, and inwardly, against his suffering. To
the former he says, "You imagine you are all Christians and are contented
because you have forgotten that each of you is an existing individual. When
you remember that, you will be forced to realize that you are pagans and
in despair." To himself he says, "As long as your suffering makes you de-
fiant and despairing, as long as you identify your suffering with yourself
as an existing individual, and are defiantly or despairingly the exception,
you are not a Christian." 1
What Kierkegaard says to himself is more important for the psycholog-
ist, the philosopher, and probably the theologian, than what he says to the
state church of Denmark. Even the portions of his writings that do not con-
tribute to the interpretation of Christianity to people who think they are
already Christians, are intensely autobiographical and colored by his per-
sonal suffering. Hence it would seem that the key most likely to unlock the
mystery that is Kierkegaard, is suffering. It is the best single hope for un-
derstanding the weird charade of paradoxes, dialectic, love stories, and dis-
guised characters created by his pseudonymous authors and editors.
Kierkegaard, the Sufferer
The question, "Who was Soren Kierkegaard?" is yet to be answered
with certainty. In The Point of View he warned his readers that he was
none of the literary characters he had created, neither the rakish adventur-
er, nor the virtuoso of the arts, nor the sober citizen, nor the scientific psy-
chologist, nor the political partisan, nor the philosophical polemicist, nor
the scriptural exegete, nor the theological martinet, nor the religious
enthusiast. His biographers have presented him in a hundred guises, depend-
ing on their point of view. He has been portrayed as a would-be Don Juan,
a crippled Oedipus, an endogenous manic-depressive with an atypical career,
a schizophrenic, the greatest Christian of his century, a destroyer of the
historic Christian faith, a monarchist, a reactionary obscurantist, even a
1. W. H. Auden, The Living Thoughts of Kierkegaard (New York: David
McKay, 1952), p. 5.
vulgar anti-semite. His admirers have hailed him as a peerless diarist, the
liberator of philosophy from Hegelian panlogism, the founder of the
existentialist view of life, the herald of crisis theology, the nineteenth
century's truest witness to the passion.
The basic facts of Kierkegaard's life are sufficiently well-known but
to explore his personality in depth is a formidable task. There is a discon-
certing entry in his Journal for May 1843 which would indicate that he
intended such a study to be an impossibility.
After my death, no one shall find in my papers ... a single
explanation of what, properly speaking, has filled my life. No one
shall find the writing in my inmost soul which explains everything.
There is an earlier entry in his Journal in 1835 in which he seems to have
wrestled with the problem of how much of himself he dared to reveal.
What shall I do? Shall I publish my suffering to the world and still
further augment the evidence for the wretchedness and sadness of
the times, perhaps to discover a new dark spot in human life, not
hitherto brought to the attention of men? I might even earn renown
thereby, like the man who discovered the spots of sin. If my whole
treasure be but a Pandora's box, would it not be better for the world
and myself if I never opened it.
Kierkegaard was born to a dialectic basis for suffering. He was the
illegitimate child of a severe, aggressive, dominating, highly guilty father
and a depressed, passive servant-mother. The mother is important primarily
for what she was not. Kierkegaard never mentions her in his writings with
the exception of one Journal reference to the location of her grave. The
mother is limited to the role of Martha, the wife as cook and servant.
Though Kierkegaard's father married her four months before Soren's birth,
she was never regarded in the highest sense as a wife. Bishop Mynster, the
father's pastor, indicated that the father always regarded the first wife
as his only real wife.
Soren played the role of the intellectual companion, the spiritual wife
to his father. Even as a child he was aware that there was something
strange about his home and his unusual intimacy with his father. Perhaps
for this reason he never invited a schoolmate to visit his home. 2 In a thinly
disguised biographic reference Kierkegaard describes his relationship with
There once lived a father and son. A son is a mirror in which the
father sees himself reflected, and the father is also a mirror in
which the son sees himself reflected as he will be in the future. But
these two rarely contemplated one another thus, for their daily inter-
course was through a gay and lively conversation. But it sometimes
happened that the father stopped and faced his son with saddened
visage, let his eye dwell upon him, and said to him, "Poor boy, you
are the victim of a silent despair!" Nothing more was ever said,
either of what this meant or how true it might be. The father thought
2. W. Lowrie, A Life of Kierkegaard (New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1961),
that he was the cause of his son's melancholy and the son thought it
was he who had caused his father so much grief, but never a word
was exchanged between them on the subject. 3
An explanation for the father's melancholy is given in a Journal entry
of 1849. Here Kierkegaard explains his father's unforgivable sin:
The terrible fate of the man who as a small boy once mounted a
hill and cursed God, because he was hungry and cold, and had to
endure hardships while herding sheep . . . and that man found it
impossible to forget this when he had reached the age of 82. 4
Soren Kierkegaard appeared to accept his melancholy and guilt as a
reflection of that of his father. Kierkegaard describes The Concept of
Dread, on the title page, as "A simple deliberation on psychological lines
in the direction of the dogmatic problem of inherited sin". In another
Journal reference he describes the sin of his father and himself in corporate
terms reminiscent of the Old Testament:
Guilt, it seemed, rested on our whole family, and God's punishment
must inevitably lie upon it too. . . . Our memorial would be utterly
wiped out, and we nowhere be found. 5
The fact that the father once cursed God hardly seems an adequate
explanation for the profound sense of guilt which Kierkegaard expresses.
The significance of this incident probably lies in the fact that it communi-
cates indirectly not what his father had done, but what Soren himself did.
He had cursed his father, the prototype of God, and wished that he would
die. The timing in boyhood is probably accurate and the joyless childhood
and narrow upbringing are an adequate motive. Fear and Trembling is an
expression, in the most extreme form, of Soren Kierkegaard's hatred and
aggression. 6 It is a condemnation of the father-god to death at the hand
of his son. The quotation from Luke 14:26 on hating father and mother
affords the key to the entire work. Soren Kierkegaard is Abraham while
the father is transfigured and degraded to the role of son. Compulsively
the theme of violent rejection is repeated four times in the book:
He (Abraham) seized Isaac by the throat, threw him to the ground,
and said, "Stupid boy, dost thou then suppose that I am thy father?
I am an idolater. Dost thou suppose that this is God's bidding? No,
it is my desire." 7
In 1843 Kierkegaard wrote in his Journal, "He who has explained this
riddle (of Abraham's collision) has explained my life."
The other figure of the story, Isaac, was a bi-sexual character. He was
3. Stages on Life's Way, (trans. W. Lowrie), (Princeton University Press, 1940),
4. The Journals of Soren Kierkegaard (trans. A. Dm), (London: Oxford Uni-
versity Press, 1938), p. 150,
5. Journals, 243 (IIA, 805).
6. R. Friedmann, Kierkegaard: The Analysis of the Psychological Personality
(London: Peter Nevill, 1949), p. 46.
7. Fear and Trembling (trans. W. Lowrie), (New York: Doubleday Anchor,
1954), p. 27.
father, but in the subsidiary drama he also represented a masculine concept
of Regina Olsen, Kierkegaard's fiancee.
On two other occasions Kierkegaard chose to describe his relationship
to his father in the disguise of literary characters. The earlier of these was in
Either I Or, his first literary work. Here he ascribes his experience to a
female character, Antigone. Later, in 1843, the year of the publication of
Either I Or, he wrote in his Journal that he must again occupy himself with
Antigone. He goes on to reflect how she was related to Solomon and David.
To Kierkegaard it seemed certain that Solomon's intelligence and sensu-
ality were due to his youthful relationship to David. Antigone, the female
impersonation of Soren, was thus equated with David who drew from his
sensual relationship with Solomon a profound burden of guilt. In David
this guilt found expression in the ethical personality that was the prototype
for Kierkegaard's second stage.
While he was away at the University some of Kierkegaard's hostility
toward his father resolved and there was apparently a reconciliation in
1838. He chose, as a motto for this period, the reconciliation passage
between King Lear and Cordelia, "In a walled prison." The father was,
of course, Lear and Soren was Cordelia, the daughter.
Although Kierkegaard was reticent about revealing anything of his
inmost self, it can be noted that he in fact revealed a great deal about
his own personality and its development. In summary, it is clear that
Kierkegaard had a sublimated incestuous homosexual relationship with his
father which was in large part responsible for his profound guilt feelings.
Even the mention of his father's name aroused in him a tremendous sense
of guilt. In childhood his libido was fixated on his father. After a stormy
and unsettled period this fixation was transferred to God.
Knowing this much about the man we would expect him to approach
suffering like a firefly; who flits around the flame of suffering, even the
suffering unto death. In the depths of his guilt, suffering appeared as a
light of irresistible horror and hope to which he returned again and again,
until finally he destroyed himself. Undeniably Soren Kierkegaard was a
sick man. He was even more aware of this than his contemporaries. How-
ever, his sickness in no way detracts from the value of the contribution
which he made. The genius of Kierkegaard lies in what he did with the
sickness and suffering that was his.
The Concept of Suffering
There is no sharp distinction between the life of Kierkegaard and the
concepts which he expressed. All of his writings have an intensely auto-
biographical character. Having outlined briefly the development of Kierke-
gaard's basic personality it should now be easier to follow his description of
the stages of development of the Christian man. When Kierkegaard describes
the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious stages, he frequently makes use
of pseudonyms to indicate that it is not his own thought which he is
expressing. While this may be true, it needs to be kept in mind that these
stages were stages in Kierkegaard's own life. They are in a real sense part
of his biography.
The aesthetic and ethical writings, though they are literary master-
pieces and do represent stages in Kierkegaard's development, do not repre-
sent the final development of his thought. For this reason they will be
discussed only briefly as a necessary introduction to the understanding of
the religious stage.
Johannus Climacus, a Kierkegaard pseudonym, makes the comment
that in contrast to the religious individual, suffering may be accidental or
absent in the aesthetic or ethical stages. In the aesthetic or ethical stages
of life pleasure is a sign of successful exercise on the part of an organ
completely adequate to its mode of function. The answer to the question
as to why the personality is inadequate and needs the transforming disci-
pline of suffering, deepens the suffering and intensifies the inadequacy.
For the only answer which the individual can find without making life
trivial or meaningless, is at bottom guilt.
Already, in the aesthetic stage, suffering is seen not just as retribution
but as a transforming discipline. Kierkegaard emphasizes this with the
comment that all coming-into-being is a kind of suffering. It is possible
to live at peace in the aesthetic or ethical stage without suffering, but prog-
ress demands suffering. Kierkegaard, with his "inherited melancholy", did,
of course, suffer during his aesthetic and religious stages but he is careful
to point out that his melancholy is not to be equated with the suffering
of the Christian, or even the Christian coming-into-being. That suffering
was simply part of his destiny or his sharing of the human lot.
Stages on Life's Way begins with a symposium or banquet which is
plainly drawn from Plato's Symposium. Like Plato's work, Stages is at
least partially a treatise on homosexuality. The difference is that where
Plato praises, Kierkegaard disparages. In The Point of View Kierkegaard
admits to being Quidam and Frater Taciturnus. 8 However, when in the
Postcript Kierkegaard describes a third character, the fashion designer, his
description matches Kierkegaard's own. He seizes upon and ridicules the
sensuous factor in women, noting that they adorn themselves so foolishly,
not for the male sex, but for each other. He is, says Kierkegaard, a man
who suffers because he is passionately possessed of a demon which is
called despair. 9
In the aesthetic and ethical stages the emphasis is on the self and the
world. Hence both suffering and its relief are to be expected from worldly
sources. The suffering of Abraham, as described in Fear and Trembling,
is due to his silence — he cannot speak. The relief of speech would translate
him into the universal and relieve his anguish. A generation later Freud
made approximately the same point. There is a suffering to which silence
is intrinsic. The key to its relief is to be found in breaking that silence, but
the key may prove elusive, or, as in the case of Abraham, be forbidden.
Psychoanalysis has become the supreme refinement of the worldly struggle
for relief of the anguish Kierkegaard so clearly described.
Herr P. L. Moller, a contemporary of Kierkegaard who was not noted
as being one of his friends, commenting on the writings of the aesthetic
stage, says: "Such works are mirrors: when an ape peers into them, no
apostle can be seen looking out." There is some real question as to whether
all of these works are necessarily a part of the road to the religious life.
8. The Point of View For My Work As an Author (trans. A. Dru and W.
Lowrie), (New York: Harper Brothers, 1962), p. 83.
9. Concluding Unscientific Postscript to the Philosophical Fragments (trans.
D. F. Swenson), (Princeton University Press, 1941), p. 264.
Even Kierkegaard, in The Point of View, admits that "The Seducer's Diary"
only seems to belong to the plan as an afterthought.
As enjoyment is the decisive category of the aesthetic life, suffering
is the decisive category for the religious life. Kierkegaard sees suffering as
arising from the necessity of a reformation of the individual, from an
incommensurability between the individual and his task. Thus, reaching the
religious life requires suffering, and if the suffering is taken away, the
religious life is also abolished.
Suffering, for the religious man, is no accident, or something which
comes and goes with the varying fortunes of life. Instead, suffering is a
constant concomitant of being a Christian. In The Point of View Kierke-
gaard comments that, as a child, there were times when Christianity appeared
as the most inhuman cruelty. A Journal entry of 1835 attributes the same
feeling of cruelty to Christians :
Christians . have known how to deprive the unfortunate of every
alleviation, even of a drop of water to quench his burning tongue.
Almost always where the Christian employs himself about the world
to come it is desolation, punishment, destruction, eternal torture and
pain which he envisages.
A later discourse treats more gently the origin of suffering:
While ultimately the Christian message is the good news: "Come
unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you
rest," it is proximately to man's self-love the worst possible news —
"Take up thy cross and follow me." Thus to be relieved of suffer-
ing in one sense is to accept suffering in another. 10
Having found the origin of the suffering of the religious man in God,
Kierkegaard is careful to point out that this suffering is voluntarily borne.
In The Point of View he predicts the epitaph his poet will write:
In eternity it will be his comfort that he has suffered voluntarily,
and not supported his cause by the help of any illusion or concealed
himself behind any illusion. His sufferings have been a prudently
pious gathering together of savings for eternity: there he has the
memory that he was faithful to himself and to his first love, with
which he has loved all those who suffered in the world. 11
Voluntary suffering is a recurring theme of The Point of View. With regard
to the affair with the magazine Corsair, an episode in which Kierkegaard
actually asked to be held up to public ridicule, he says:
I have suffered under much misunderstanding; and the fact that I
voluntarily exposed myself to it does not indicate that I am insensible
to real suffering. It would be well to deny the reality of all Christian
suffering for the mark of it is that it is voluntary. 12
Having held voluntary suffering up as the essential quality of the religious
life, it is necessary for Kierkegaard to provide some indication of its value.
10. Auden, p. 5.
11. The Point of View, pp. 101-102.
12. Ibid., p. 8.
In spite of Kierkegaard's emphasis on original sin, guilt and despair,
retribution does not appear as a significant cause of suffering for the
religious man. The disciplinary or educational value of suffering is recog-
nized though. This is probably best illustrated in the third section of Edify-
ing Discourses, which is a gospel of suffering. Here he says that the school
of suffering prepares one for eternity, that is, it is not the way which is
narrow, but the narrowness which is the way. The spirit of courage in
suffering takes power away from the world and transforms derision into
honor, defeat into victory. A strong sense of eschatology can also be seen
in this work.
The education of discipline and of eschatological hope are but minor
factors compared to the fact that the suffering of the religious man is
sacrificial or redemptive. The thrust of Kierkegaard's attack on the state
church centers around its failure to take seriously the demand for sacrificial
The parson (collectively understood) does indeed preach about those
glorious ones who sacrificed their lives for the truth. As a rule the
parson is justified in assuming that there is no one present in the
church who would entertain the notion of venturing upon such a
thing. When he is sufficiently assured of this by reason of the private
knowledge he has of the congregation as its pastor, he preaches
glibly, declaims vigorously, and wipes away the sweat. If on the
following day one of those strong and silent men, a quiet, modest,
perhaps even insignificant-looking man, were to visit the parson at
his house announcing himself as one whom the parson had carried
away by his eloquence, so that he had now resolved to sacrifice his
life for the truth — what would the parson say? He would address
him thus. "Why, merciful Father in Heaven. How did such an idea
ever occur to you? Travel, divert yourself, take a laxative." And if
this plain-looking man were to fix his eye upon him with unaltered
calm, and holding him with this glance were to continue to talk
about his resolution, but with the modest expressions which a reso-
lute man always uses — then the parson would surely think "would
that this man were far away!" 13
Though Kierkegaard, in later life, felt suffering most keenly as persecu-
tion, he recognized that this was not the extent of suffering in the religious
life. He describes the essence of the apostle's life as though "poor yet
making many rich", because he never dares take the time or the quiet or
carefreeness in order to grow rich.
In the sacrificial aspect of suffering we find the apex of Kierkegaard's
thought concerning the religious man. In his description of the religious
man he switches largely from indirect to direct communication, but the
material is still biographical. It is in this biographical portion that we find
Kierkegaard's sickness showing through in what might be considered a
flaw in the purity of his concept of sacrificial suffering. In his last years
it was not that he sought to emulate the Christ; but instead to be the
Christ. The pathologic fixation on his father had now been transferred
to God, and his personality had completed the full cycle.
13. Auden, pp. 210-211.
As early as 1848 Kierkegaard begins to describe himself privately in
his Journal as the gift of God to his people.
It is even possible that ... I was nevertheless a gift of God to my
people. They have treated me shabbily, God knows; yes, they have
abused me as children abuse a costly present.
Another Journal entry of that same year indicates that he did not accept
completely or without protest the idea of being sacrificed for the ungrateful
To let oneself be trampled to death by geese is a slow way of
dying . . . Such a galling sort of abuse is about the most torturing
experience ... It is clear enough that I am to become a sacrifice.
Kierkegaard expected to die during or shortly after the episode of the
Corsair. The failure to do so was a surprise and an inconvenience. His
financial resources were running out and he had already produced at least
two final works.
On December 18, 1854 Kierkegaard published in the Danish news-
paper, the Fatherland, the first of a series of attacks on the state church
in what he anticipated would be a final suicide mission. He expected to
be arrested, probably imprisoned, and perhaps put to death by the angry
mobs. In this instance his vivid imagination had led him far astray. The
Prime Minister let it be known that if an author who had shed so much
luster upon Denmark were arrested, he would at once release him. 14 Among
the people, especially the youth, he found his most loyal supporters. Gen-
erally only the clergy were upset. Kierkegaard was greatly disappointed.
Having failed to be destroyed by mobs, Kierkegaard setreated still
further into his private world, seldom venturing out of his house, conversing
with no one, and writing no letters.
On October 2, 1855, he fell unconscious in the street. He was carried
to Frederick's Hospital where he announced on admission, "I have come
here to die." The intern who attended him in this final illness has left a
graphic record of Kierkegaard's attitude toward his own suffering and
approaching death. Entered in the hospital chart for the day of admission:
He considers his disease mortal; his death is necessary to the cause
he had used all the powers of his spirit to further, for which alone
he has lived, and which he considers himself especially called and
fitted to serve; whence the great intellectual powers in connection
with so frail a body. If he lives he must continue his religious strug-
gle but people will then tire of it; if he dies, on the contrary, the
cause will maintain its strength and, as he thinks, its victory. 15
An entry a few days later:
He continues to assert his approaching death.
Having voluntarily suffered for the cause of undeserving humanity, it was
14. Lowrie, p. 201.
15. D. F. Swenson, Something About Kierkegaard (Minneapolis: Augsburg,
1945), p. 25.
necessary in Kierkegaard's thinking that he complete the task. He must die
sacrificially as Christ had died in serving his task.
At least a few of Kierkegaard's contemporaries recognized the maso-
chistic and ultimately messianic elements of his personality. Goldschmidt,
at the time of his death, remarked, "It was time for him to die, for popu-
larity was the last thing he could endure." ia
There was a time in Kierkegaard's life when he had had a more rational
view of the meaning of being a sacrifice. In 1852, two years before his
death, he entered in his Journal a "report to history". Here, in a profound
and majestic passage, he described the way he anticipated dying. It is
perhaps fitting and desirable that the record of Kierkegaard's life should
close in the way that he had planned for it to close, before undue longevity
brought forth a very sick and distorted epilogue.
As a skillful cook says with regard to a dish in which already a great
many ingredients are mingled, "It needs just a pinch of cinnamon"
... as an artist says with a view to the color effect of a whole
painting which is composed of many, many colors, "There and there,
at that little point, must be applied a little touch of red" ... so
it is with divine governance . . . the master, God in heaven, behaves
like the cook and the artist. He says, "Now there must be introduced
a little pinch of spice, a little touch of red." We do not comprehend
why, we are hardly aware of it, since that little bit is so thoroughly
absorbed in the whole, but God knows why. A little pinch of spice!
That is to say, here a man must be sacrificed, he is needed to impart
a particular taste to the rest. A little pinch of spice! Humanly speak-
ing, what a painful thing to be thus sacrificed, to be the little pinch
of spice. But on the other hand God knows well the man whom he
elects to employ in this way, and so He also knows how, in the
inward understanding of it, to make it so blessed a thing for him
to be sacrified. . . . Underneath all these sopranos, supporting them
as it were, as the bass part does, is audible the de profundis which
issues from the sacrificed one: God is love. 17
16. Lowrie, p. 203.
17. Ibid., pp. 216-217.
HENRY SLOANE COFFIN:
THE MAN AND HIS MINISTRY
By Morgan Phelps Noyes (Charles Scribner's Sons). 278 pp. $5.00.
This book is more than a biography. It is also a contribution to the
study of Protestant Church History during the first half of the Twentieth
Henry Sloane Coffin may have been, in the words of a distinguished
Scottish theologian, "the most distinguished Protestant minister of his
generation in the English speaking world." By any account he was a
remarkably able and useful leader, whose influence was felt on both sides
of the Atlantic and on many mission fields. It was his lot in life to partici-
pate in many of the great church movements of his day and to play a
leading role in them.
Dr. Coffin was for twenty-five years the minister of congregations in
New York City, twenty of these being spent at the Madison Avenue
Presbyterian Church. Eloquent as a preacher, he was also faithful and
beloved as a pastor. He was then for 19 years the President of Union
Theological Seminary in New York and a principal factor in bringing to
that institution the prestige and influence which it holds today. During most
of these years he was not only one of the most influential figures in his
own Presbyterian Church but a leader in the ecumenical movement. In
the midst of his career as preacher, educator and administrator, he also
found opportunity for the writing of a number of worthwhile books.
It fell to the lot of Dr. Coffin to be engaged in many controversial
questions both in his church, in the seminary over which he presided, and
in his nation. In all of these spheres his position was that of a liberal. At
the same time, he was a man of deep convictions and of genuinely Christian
faith and character.
In treating the life and work of this man, who was his friend and
associate, Dr. Morgan Phelps Noyes has given us an exceedingly interest-
ing and readable book. One puts it down with a feeling that it is perhaps
too laudatory, and that its subject, as a human being, must surely have
been guilty of more frailties and mistakes than are admitted here. At the
same time the facts set forth leave one with a sense of wonder that a
single individual should have accomplished so much, and with a better
understanding of his lasting contributions to the life of the Church in
J. McDowell Richards
CHANGING PATTERNS IN
By Marshall C. Dendy (John Knox Press). 96 pp. $1.50.
Dr. Marshall C. Dendy is a distinguished alumnus of Columbia Theo-
logical Seminary, who is responsible for the Christian Education program
of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States
in the position of Executive Secretary of the Assembly's Committee on
Christian Education. Under his dynamic leadership a major project in
Curriculum Improvement and Revision is producing the Covenant Life
Curriculum. In recognition of his creative role in this great venture Colum-
bia Seminary Faculty invited Dr. Dendy to present the Alumni Lectures
in the field of Christian Education. This material has now been published
by John Knox Press, Changing Patterns in Christian Education.
In these lectures Dr. Dendy presents a study in the similarities and
the contrasts to be found in a comparison of the practices of Calvin and
Knox with the procedures now being projected in the Covenant Life Cur-
riculum, when viewed from the perspective of Christian Education. In a
brief opening chapter the author recognizes that historical changes have
occurred and alerts the attention of the reader to some sober questions
as to whether the changes have been helpful, and more particularly as to
whether the contemporary formulation of procedure is valid.
Chapters two and three are valuable treatments of the practices of
John Calvin and John Knox respectively. The author presents pertinent
material as a faithful historian and any reader will be enriched by this
true description of how these Reformers sought to educate Christians
among whom they ministered. An obvious similarity characterized the
procedures of Calvin in Geneva and Knox in Scotland, though some modi-
fication in the latter reflected a general difference in the practical circum-
stances under which he ministered. Their similarities are by far the more
significant; each understood that man as a sinner needed to be saved by
the grace of God as he received by faith the promises of God revealed
in the written Scriptures. Calvin, despite his theological capacities, devoted
his energies to the exposition of the Scriptures into the intellectual grasp
of the common people. The Bible needed to be understood and accepted
as real that a man might be saved by faith. Faith and understanding would
grow through study of the written Scripture under the blessing of the
Holy Spirit. Wilful rebellion or neglect of the Scripture should be disci-
plined by the magistrates acting under direction from the minister of
the Word. But the ministers were to be intelligent in their instruction of
the people, that faith might flourish. Schools were to be established to help
the people to be better able to grasp the meaning of the Scriptures.
John Knox worked in a social setting somewhat different in political
circumstances, though remarkably similar in the homogeneity of the people
involved. Both Calvin and Knox encountered evil persons in opposition
and yet dealt with societies that were largely the same kind of people; all
Swiss in Geneva and all Scots in Scotland. Each of these ministers saw
himself as a minister of the Word to Christians. The ministry of Knox was
featured by more developed promotion of Bible reading and study on the
part of the common people, and by a more committed purpose to preach
the message of the Bible to the country as a whole.
The fifth and final chapter of this short treatment is devoted to a
positive presentation of the purpose and plan of the new Covenant Life
Curriculum. There is no mention of the fact that similar Curriculum recon-
struction projects are under way in other denominations in North America
manifesting considerable similarity in design and thrust. Nor is there any
explanation offered for the adoption of the concepts of collective entities
beyond any Scriptural usage. As familiar as such terms are in our American
ears, there is something alien to New Testament vocabulary in family,
school, state and church being "things" that can promote programs, bear
witness, educate persons or win souls. The Hegelian character of such
concepts and their organismic meanings in social process reflect their
cultural nature and their great philosophical distance from the ideas of
Calvin and Knox. However Dr. Dendy did not attempt to demonstrate the
validity or the suitability of such contemporary features of the new Curricu-
lum, but simply to describe how the whole project has been promoted
and developed in an attempt to accomplish the education of the people
in the things of God according to the Christian Gospel. There has been
no attempt to deny that patterns are changing. The changes have been
described in competent fashion. The question of validity and efficiency
apparently must await the verdict of history in these coming days.
Manford Geo. Gutzke
Professor of Biblical Exposition
and Christian Education
THE CALL OF THE MINARET
By Kenneth Cragg (Oxford University Press). 376 pp. $1.95.
This is a profoundly moving call to the Christian Church for a vigorous
and understanding presentation of the claims of Christ to the Muslim
world. It begins with a brief survey of the contemporary setting, scanning
the significant developments within the life and environment of Islam
during the past twenty years, with particular attention to the rise of
political self-responsibility, the impact of technology, the place of women
in society, and the Muslims reaction to communism, to science, and to
modernity in general.
The next major section offers a penetrating interpretation of Islam
itself, based on the phrases of the Muslim call to prayer, which the author
describes as "perhaps the best single epitome of Muslim belief and action."
In the brief compass of this well-known "call" are to be found both the
theology of Islam and the basis of its social teachings. In successive chap-
ters the discussion deals with the Muslim doctrine of God, the place of
Muhammad as apostle and prophet, prayer and the religious life in Islam,
and the Islamic order for human society. The treatment throughout reflects
the author's mastery of the subject-matter with which he deals, his sensi-
tivity to Muslim feeling, and his ability to place himself in the posture of
those whose faith he expounds.
The third and last division of the book comes to grips directly with
the Christian-Muslim confrontation. It offers an answer to the question:
What is the Christian approach to Islam? Light is thrown on the causes
that lie behind the difficulties encountered by Christian Missions in making
an impact on the Muslim mind. These are found both in the historical
antagonisms that have developed between the two faiths and in a continu-
ing lack of understanding and knowledge, each of the other. The call of
the minaret is therefore a summons not only to Muslims but to Christians
as well. To the latter it is a call to understanding, to service, to retrieval,
to interpretation, and to patience. Particularly, "the retrieval to which we
are called does not mean taking back cathedrals from Mosques, but giving
back the Christ" . . . "To restore Christ transcends all else."
There is no compromise in this book. Nowhere is there the slightest
hint of syncretism. No claim of Christ is to be abated. His transcendence
breathes through the whole message of this volume. It offers a clear
Christian testimony. Its argument is soundly Scriptural, replete with quota-
tions from the Bible. In summary, it pleads for a positive interpretation
in five critical areas — the Scriptures as God's revelation to man, the Person
of Christ as the incarnate Son of the Living God, the Cross as the vicarious
bearing of man's iniquity, the Christian doctrine of God, and the Christian
Church and a Christian Society.
The author is equipped by experience and endowment for the writing
of this book. He has been Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the American
University of Beirut, and Professor of Arabic and Islamics at the Hartford
Seminary Foundation. At present he is Warden at St. Augustine's College,
Canterbury, Kent, England. He was editor of The Muslim World from
1952 to 1960.
This is a great book, a classic in its field. Not only in its content, but
in its literary quality and style, it is of the highest standard. Every mission-
ary should read it. It is an eloquent contemporary echo of our Lord's
exhortation, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me."
C. Darby Fulton
Professor of Missions
MEN OF GOD
By H. H. Rowley (Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd.). 306 pp. N.P.
The title "Men of God" might suggest that Dr. Rowley is presenting us
with an historical or theological evaluation of various Old Testament charac-
ters, but this is certainly not the burden of the book's message. The subtitle
"Studies in Old Testament History and Prophecy" shows the true perspective
of the eight critical essays forming the content of the book.
Most of the subjects are concerned with problems which, while they
seem to defy a final solution by Old Testament scholars, are nonetheless
forever inviting further study and comment. Such topics as Moses and
the Decalogue, the Marriage of Hosea, Nehemiah's Mission and its Back-
ground, each provides the reader with an excellent statement of the problem
involved, the various ways in which a solution has been attempted, and
finally the author gives his own opinion regarding the matter under
What Dr. Rowley states in one of his essays holds good for all of them:
Here we have a tangle of inter-related problems that has been long
discussed without yielding any final solution, and to which final
answers cannot be given. Like so many Biblical problems the evidence
is insufficient for any demonstration, and nothing more than proba-
bility can be claimed for any solution adopted. The first step towards
finding a solution lies in realising the intricate character of the problem,
and it is usually found that a study of the solutions offered will best
bring this out. (p. 213)
This book also has the attractive feature of all other publications from
the pen of Dr. Rowley: the copious footnotes and the references to related
articles in theological journals.
The fact that Men of God is a collection of essays originally published
separately during the period of 1951-1961 in no way diminishes the rele-
vance of these articles for the student of Old Testament problems in 1965.
L. R. Dewitz
Professor of Old Testament Language,
Literature, and Exegesis
CRISIS AND RESPONSE
How God Acts and Man Responds in Times of Crisis
By Roy L. Honeycutt (Abingdon Press). 176 pp. $3.50.
The author of this volume is Professor of Old Testament and head of
that department at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City,
Missouri. It is not surprising, therefore, that the seven chapters of his book
are based upon Old Testament passages or incidents. While scholarly in
approach, his book is primarily a contribution to contemporary preaching
rather than a treatment of Old Testament problems.
The crises treated in the book are connected with the experiences of
Adam, Cain, Moses, Joshua, Ezekiel, and the People of Israel as a whole.
In every instance the writer finds real insights for modern living in the
ancient record of Scripture. The purpose of his writing is suggested by the
following paragraph in which he condemns much of our preaching.
"The cliches and outworn shibboleths pronounced over many modern
congregations are not only far too often false in basic premise, but com-
pounding this atrocity, and nearly as insidious, they are often irrelevant.
After all, modern man is interested in Moses only in that what happened
to him may become the keynote to divine communion for a modern man.
Yet much so called biblical preaching is about as relevant to twentieth
century involvements as ancient arrowhead production is to the construction
of a modern hydrogen bomb. Such failure to relate the biblical message
to the true life situation of a man in the twentieth century is tragic. The
tragedy is heightened in that the one person who should have sensed its
irrelevancy first — the proclaimer of the Word — is often completely unaware
of the irrelevant nature of much that he says."
Dr. Honeycutt here provides an excellent example of the way in which
relevant lessons from the past can be embodied in our preaching today.
An amazing error has crept into the manuscript on page 85, where King
Hezekiah is quoted as asking Jeremiah the question: "Is there any word
from the Lord?" The intended reference was obviously to Zedekiah, Heze-
kiah having been dead for almost a century at that time.
J. McDowell Richards
THE CORINTHIAN CHURCH
A Biblical Approach to Urban Culture
By William Baird (Abingdon Press, New York). 224 pp. $4.75.
The minister who takes Biblical preaching seriously may find it advan-
tageous to preach from one book of the Bible for a period of several weeks
or months. The congregation can follow him from text to text, reading at
home and seeing each sermon as part of a whole. Concentration on one
book enables the minister to build his library in a systematic way and to
have the study time of one week lead into the study time of the following
This book by the professor of New Testament at the College of the
Bible (Lexington Theological Seminary) is particularly helpful for such
an approach with First Corinthians. It cannot be a substitute for solid
exegetical commentaries, but its discussion of the particular problems raised
by Paul can be enriching for the preparation of sermons and studies on
Professor Baird first gave lectures dealing with the relevance of First
Corinthians for such problems of the contemporary church as division,
morality, secularism, worship, and death, and then expanded them to this
present form. His work is based primarily on the fruit of his own exegetical
study, but he profits from the insights of other exegetes, ancient and mod-
ern, American and European, with special attention given to Jeremias,
Bultmann, Cullmann, Eduard Schweizer, and Jean Hering. His own example
reminds the minister that freshness can be given to preaching in more
careful use of the original language in the study and that clarity in com-
munication is aided by a clear outline. His special focus is the way that
First Corinthians speaks to our urban culture as interpreted by such
writers as Will Herberg, Peter Berger, Gibson Winter, and Martin Marty.
One could wish that he gave more time to relating the Corinth of 65 to
the Atlanta of 1965, but at least he makes a beginning and opens the way
for the reader to travel further along the way of relevance.
The weakest section of this study is the chapter dealing with the problem
of death. Though he stresses the importance of the resurrection and recog-
nizes that "belief in the resurrection is essential to the Christian faith," he
tends to muffle the apostle's clear accent on the resurrection of the body
in stressing the distinction between the resurrection faith and the resur-
The overall reaction of this reviewer is an appreciation of a man who
does not exegete in a vacuum but in the context of flesh-and-blood people
struggling to be faithful to Christ in the midst of a paganized, urbanized
Wade P. Huie, Jr.
Peter Marshall Professor
of Horn He tics
A NEW TESTAMENT HISTORY
The Story of the Emerging Church
By Floyd V. Filson (Westminster Press). 435 pp. $7.50.
We have come in recent years to expect from the pen of Floyd V.
Filson, Dean of McCormick Theological Seminary, clearly written and
sane statements of New Testament faith and history. His work with G.
Ernest Wright in editing the Westminster Historical Atlas to the Bible, his
own books, and his commentaries on Matthew, John, and Second Corin-
thians, represent useful guides to the study of the New Testament. In
many ways these previous works prepare for his latest book which well
might be his magnum opus, A New Testament History: The Story of the
The book, which is a companion volume to John Bright's A History Of
Israel, surveys the progress of history from 175 B.C. to A.D. 150, focusing
on those events which brought into being amid its political, social, cultural
and religious background the Christian Church. The five major sections
of the book are: The Background, Jesus The Central Figure, The Jerusalem
Church, Paul The Apostle To Gentiles, and The Church Anchored in
History. Filson is conscious of the fact that the surveyor of this particular
period of history cannot write from the perspective of the neutral and
detached observer, but only rightly interprets the history as he is himself
involved in the history he relates. For the biblical writer God is the chief
actor in history and therefore the surveyor using his scholarly and critical
tools must be cognizant of the decisive and revelatory character of the Bible.
The book has a number of strong features. The beginning section pro-
vides an excellent and concise reconnaissance of the development of Juda-
ism from the time of the Seleucids to A.D. 30. Filson is particularly
conscious of the tensions and interaction between the various sects of this
period as they seek to deal with the growing nationalism of the Maccabean
period and later with the control of the Romans. Judaism is not viewed
as a "finished product which stood in a static way over against the emerging
Christian Church" but as a dynamic force in the process of taking the
shape and form it has held in succeeding centuries.
In examining the portrait of Jesus painted in the New Testament, Filson
feels that the synoptic gospels preserve essentially an early Palestinian
tradition about Jesus. Since the Early Church used this tradition in its life
and worship and gave to it its literary shape, we must recognize that the
incidents and sayings which occur in the Gospels are not set in an accurate
chronological sequence; nevertheless, in light of the kerygma the broad
lines of Jesus' ministry, message and purpose can be discerned. One might
describe Filson's position as that of a "conservative form critic".
At certain points this reviewer found himself unconvinced by some of
Filson's arguments. For example, in dealing with the discrepancy in the
account of the Jerusalem Council as reported in Galatians 2:1-10 and in
Acts 15:1-29, Filson argues that "Paul agreed to the 'decree' not as a
compromise but because it continued essentially the kind of arrangement
which he had led Gentile Christians to accept from the beginning of his
Gentile mission" (p. 220). Filson feels that the first Gentile Christians
properly and naturally accepted all dietary and ceremonial practices that
were axiomatic among the Jews and that at the Jerusalem Council (as
recorded in the Acts account) Gentile Christians were asked to do no more
than they had been doing all along. A consideration of the nature of Paul's
conversion to Christianity together with his radical emphasis upon the free-
dom of the Gospel renders this position problematic. This reviewer remains
intrigued but unconvinced by Filson's argument that Lazarus was the
author of the Fourth Gospel. His argument which is forcefully stated
occurs also in his study on John in the Layman's Bible Commentary.
One also could wish for a more extensive treatment of gnosticism,
particularly since the scope of this book is to deal with historical problems.
Filson feels that there is no crystalization of gnosticism as early as Paul,
but he is willing to see a certain "incipient gnosticism" in the New Testa-
ment period. Only a very few pages are devoted to this significant problem.
These criticisms notwithstanding the book remains an extremely helpful
aid to the understanding of the New Testament. The presence of two
appendices, one giving a chronological sketch of the period and another
recording the family tree of the Herodians, together with the familiar
Westminster maps in the rear of the book, enhance its value.
Charles B. Cousar
Associate Professor of New Testament
Language, Literature and Exegesis
COMMENTARY ON THE
EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS
By F. F. Bruce (Eerdmans). lxiv 447 pp. $6.00.
This is one of the excellent volumes in the series, The New International
Commentary on the New Testament. The author of this volume has become
the general editor of the series since the death of the former editor, Professor
Ned Stonehouse. It is of interest to Columbia Seminary that our Professor
Philip E. Hughes was the author of the volume in this series on 2 Corin-
thians, and that our former visiting professor, Dr. Leon Morris, prepared
the volume on the Thessalonian Epistles.
The author is Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis
in the University of Manchester, and he is a worthy successor of the
eminent T. W. Manson. He shows a thorough knowledge of the literature
in the field, particularly that produced by his fellow British scholars.
In the very fine introductory notes, Bruce surveys the regular problems
of introduction. He surveys all significant theories and gives his criticism
of them. His own positions are suggested, some of them, of course, rather
tentatively. He does not believe that Paul was the author, though he shows
no preference for any other person, preferring to follow Origen's ancient
dictum — "God only knows." He definitely prefers to date it before 70,
the fall of Jerusalem, possibly before 64, the Neronic persecution in Rome.
He feels that it was written to a group of Hellenistic Jews who were thinking
of going back to Judaism from Christianity.
Throughout the volume he shows how the ancient author showed the
superiority of Christianity to its closest competitor, Judaism. But at the
same time he shows the contemporary significance of this ancient book
as it shows that Christianity is also the final, ultimate religion.
This volume should be of great help to the preacher who is seeking
to get the best possible interpretation of the biblical texts from which he
can construct his own sermons. It is highly commended.
Samuel A. Cartledge
Professor of New Testament
Language, Literature, and Exegesis
THE NEW TESTAMENT
Its History and Message
By W. C. van Unnik, translated by H. H. Hopkins (Harper & Row).
192 pp. $3.95.
Introductions to the New Testament seem often to fall into one of
two categories: either they are so simple and sketchy that they are almost
useless, or they are so technical that they are almost incomprehensible to
the average reader of the Bible. It is the strength of this book that it
successfully avoids either extreme, and succeeds in giving us a very
readable and useful introduction to the history and message of the New
Dr. van Unnik, the renowned professor of New Testament at the
University of Utrecht (The Netherlands), begins his study of the New
Testament with a brief discussion of the New Testament itself — its origin,
the canon and text, its transmission and translation through the ages. He
then moves into the historical setting of the New Testament, with a brief
but thorough survey of the Graeco-Roman world, including such factors
as social conditions, prevailing philosophies and religions, and the political
situation. An examination of the Jewish background follows, centering on
the nature and importance of Judaism in the life of the Jewish nation. He
includes also a helpful discussion of the diaspora and its importance in
the spread of Christianity.
The book continues with a study of the life and ministry of Jesus,
first surveying the course of his ministry, and then looking at the content
of his message. Next is a review of the work of the early Church, followed
by sections on the ministry of Paul and the writings of the other apostles.
The book concludes with a chapter on the results of Christ's work.
This book is almost deceptive in its simplicity. It is not difficult to
grasp, yet it touches on virtually every subject necessary for an appreciation
of the New Testament. It is a valuable contribution.
John N. Akers
ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
By R. K. Harrison (Association Press). 138 pp. $3.95.
The Professor of Old Testament at Wycliffe College, University of
Toronto, has rendered a genuine service by putting in compact form (94
pp.) the substance of the bearing of archaeological findings upon the New
After two chapters on sources and sites, the writer moves in turn from
the Gospels, to Paul, to the Growing Church. More than half the volume
is allotted to two chapters on "Qumran and the New Testament", and "Nag
Hammadi and the Gospels". Perhaps these two are expounded as major
illustrations of what archaeology is doing for the New Testament. Yet since
each of these latter two and especially the first, is being so voluminously
expounded by others, one wonders if this is the best proportion and
whether this volume would not have been strengthened by a reapportion-
ment of its narrative. In any case, the materials are significant and the
discussions, even of controversial matters, balanced and helpful.
Laymen and students should find such a volume readable and illuminat-
ing. Twenty-four illustrations, including two maps, add visual concreteness
to the narrative. From its reference to the crocodile cemetery at Tebtunis
to the jar of documents at Nag Hammadi a considerable panorama of
the lore as well as the light of archaeology is set before the reader. This
book does not set out to "prove" the Scriptures but no one can read
such pages as those dealing with the trustworthiness of Luke without a
deeper awareness of the rootedness of the Christian faith in historical fact.
A puzzle and a complaint for the publisher: Why were the "notes to
chapters" set in such large type? They comprise nearly one-third of the
book. And this reader will not cease to complain and to campaign for the
placing of such notes on the pages where they belong. Are esthetics being
used to cover up economics and to derail convenience? The footnotes are
often one of the most valuable parts of a book and it is annoying to
have to unbury them at the end of a book.
Dean G. McKee
Professor of Biblical Exposition
CONVERSATION WITH THE BIBLE
By Markus Barth (Holt, Rinehart and Winston). 338 pp. $6.95.
Like many a believing but educated person, Markus Barth loves his
Bible and wants to take it seriously. His problem is how to accept it as
the Word of God while at the same time being aware of its many human
aspects. In Conversation with the Bible he has set forth an approach which
ought to appeal to many conservative students of the Bible.
Barth cannot accept a so-called "high doctrine of the Bible" because
its defenders are too often guilty of presumption in their treatment of the
Bible and go beyond its declarations. He flatly declares that the "Bible . . .
contains neither incontestable propositions nor a perfect system ..."
(p. 83). But neither can he accede to any approach that treats the Bible
anthropologically, making its authority rest in the way it represents the
human situation or voices the "heartbeat of the religious community"
(p. 138). Such an approach ignores a central factor in the Bible, that it is
a record of God's interference on behalf of man.
What appears prima facie to be a better solution to the problem of the
authority of the Bible is the "Christological" approach. This view, which
Barth traces back to Origen, finds an analogy between the two natures of
Christ and the two necessary facets of the Bible, but Barth concludes that
this approach wrongly transfers to a thing statements appropriate only to a
person. The Bible becomes an object of worship instead of a means of
communication. But even if the analogy were permitted, it would logically
require the interpreter to develop two mutually exclusive methods of inter-
pretation, the one concerned with the literal, historic — and human — sense
of the Bible, and the other concerned with its timeless, theological and
In clarifying what he takes to be the Biblical view of the authority
of Scripture, Barth deals first with the communication of God's authority
to persons, making a series of pertinent observations. In particular he
notes that "authorization by God is always limited" (p. 175) at least as
to the purpose for which it is granted. Also, with Paul, he observes that
an inspiration of God's Spirit affects the receiver of revelation as well
as the writer of Scripture. And, although there is a miraculous identifica-
tion such that "the Scriptures say what God says, and God says what the
Scriptures say", authority is neither magically nor naturally inherent in
them. A proper Biblical authority will speak for itself, and it will not be
the same as that exerted by a policeman's badge or by public opinion.
Instead, the authority of the Bible is best defined as that of a charter
of liberty or liberation, a record whose words and events are valid prece-
dents in the ongoing conversation between God and mankind, and which
calls for continued response and action from free and happy men. As
"Magna Charta" the Bible has the kind of limited authority which is given
to a witness, but at the same time the book serves as an instrument or
tool for the work of the Spirit in the lives of its readers — as his exegetical
discussion of II Timothy 3:16 clearly shows. Barth has thus forsaken a
non-biblical analogy — that of a hypostatic union of two natures — for a
Biblical analogy in defining the authority of Scripture. He does not reject
the fact of revelation but prefers the concrete image of "conversation"
since this implies what is actually found in the Bible, communication
between God and man in both directions, rather than just from God to
man, as is implied in the use of the term "revelation".
For Barth, the biblical use of the Bible is well illustrated in the letter
to the Hebrews, and he examines this in detail, finding it a part of the
continuing conversation which seeks to involve its readers in free and
responsible relationship with God. The author of the letter has used his
Bible (the Old Testament) as a free man should, seeking information about
Christ and words of comfort and urging "people exposed to the world's
temptations to participate trustingly, obediently, and joyfully in the life
and service of God's people" (p. 235).
Though Barth challenges modern methods of textual, historical and
literary criticism in the light of this thoroughly biblical hermeneutic, he
comments that "embittered criticism of the Bible scholars is more likely
to be displeasing to the Father than all the errors to which the interpreters
are so obviously inclined" (p. 292).
What Barth is saying is exceedingly relevant to current discussions of
the interpretation of the Bible. His gentle and persuasive treatment defines
an approach which many essentially conservative students are practicing
mostly with far less clarity. Few pastors, professors or Bible students are
as humanistic as their talk about sources, influences, editors and literary
forms would seem to imply. Yet they are often painfully aware that the
so-called "high doctrine" simply does not express what they understand
to be the Bible's view of itself. In setting forth his view of the Biblical
"conversation" Barth has defined a new alternative and has challenged the
necessity of any higher doctrine!
James H. Gailey, Jr.
Professor of Old Testament Language,
Literature, and Exegesis
THE PROMISE AND THE PRESENCE
By Harry N. Huxhold (Concordia Publishing House). 252 pp. $4.50.
In his volume of "messages of hope from the Old Testament" a Missouri
Synod Lutheran pastor and director of student work provides what min-
isters look for when they read the sermons of others — both ideas and the
stimulation of a good example.
The sermons are solidly Biblical, and although they are drawn from
the Old Testament lessons proper to the Sundays from Advent to Pente-
cost, the sermons frequently refer also to the gospel lessons for these
days, and thus remind readers from a non-liturgical tradition of the values
of the lectionary of the Christian year. The sermons offer Christian nurture
in the context of liturgy with emphasis on the value of the sacraments;
they may be described as "evangelistic" only in the sense that one who is
not a member of the Christian fellowship might be moved to ask himself
if he is perhaps missing something rich and satisfying.
Pastor Huxhold does not attempt to offer solutions to the specific
social problems which serve as introductions to his meditations; rather, he
sees behind them the fundamental problems of human sin and guilt which
must find their solution in a divinely accomplished salvation. Both his
secular introduction and his Old Testament theme thus lead inevitably
to a Christological conclusion, yet without distortion of the Old Testament
It is refreshing to breathe the atmosphere of liturgical worship through
the pages of this book. It is instructive to be reminded how prophetic Old
Testament words spell out certain features of the appearance of the
Redeemer and His work. One could only ask a little more specific help
to meet the current problems of life.
James H. Gailey, Jr.
Professor of Old Testament Language,
Literature, and Exegesis
LOVE AND SEXUALITY
By Robert Grimm (Association Press). 127 pp. $3.50.
"Much has been written about love and sexuality. As a rule, the approach
has been from a specific point of view — psychology or medicine, psycho-
analysis or philosophy, education or theology. In this essay we have tried
to adopt a comprehensive, open-ended approach, in the manner of
dialogue between God and the world." Thus, Robert Grimm, Student
Chaplain at the Universite de Neuchetel, Switzerland, sets forth in the
Preface something of what he tries to do in this book.
There is a need for an ethic of love and sexuality today. We are pre-
occupied with sex, but not with love. The tragedy in this is not that our
values have changed, but that there are no values at all; and love, wandering
and lost, has no fixed point to which to return. The result is that man, in
his pursuit of sex, is finally desexed.
The author's solution to this dilemma is to find a theologically oriented
ethic of sex and love. He begins by saying that the source of all love is
God. In creation and in Jesus Christ God has revealed to us the meaning
of love — to live for another and to recognize in that other the nature and
purpose of one's own existence. Love alone can justify and sustain us,
because love alone represents God's purpose for our lives. Sex, therefore,
is "the providential means which God has chosen to demonstrate the
profound truth that it is not good for man to be alone".
Grimm goes on to discuss the mystery of sexuality. Sexuality is a
function of relationship, a medium of exchange and reciprocity between
two persons. "It becomes the dynamic force which enables the personality
to attain its goal — to exist for others, to love." Learning to love, however,
does not consist primarily in mastering the technique of sex, but in becoming
an adult personality.
This should have been stressed much more than it is. In fact, this may
have been the theme around which the book should have been written.
As it is — it is hard to find a central thesis in the book. It is "open-ended",
as the author indicates in the preface.
LAW AND MORALS
By Norman St. John-Stevas (Hawthorn Books, New York). 124 pp.
CRISES IN MORALITY
Edited by C. W. Scudder (Broadman Press, Nashville, Tennessee).
156 pp. $3.50.
It is an illuminating exercise to compare these two books on similar
themes: the one written by an eminent Roman Catholic publicist and
apologist; the other, edited by the head of the department of Christian
ethics at South-Western Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.
The one is written within the context of papal encyclicals and canon law;
the other, within the context of conventional morality.
Dr. Norman St. John-Stevas is a highly articulate liberal Roman
Catholic layman. His book (which bears the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur)
is Volume 148 of The Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Catholicism.
He discusses with sympathy and humanity, a variety of controversial
questions. Concerning birth control he notes that the Roman Catholic
Church "does not object to family planning and is rapidly coming round
to the position where this is enjoined as a positive duty on parents. The
dispute between Catholics and non-Catholics over birth control has nar-
rowed to one of means rather than of ends." He adds, however, that "the
means approved by the Catholic Church is the rhythm method of birth
The volume edited by Dr. C. W. Scudder has the usual weaknesses of a
symposium. The article on capital punishment is a first class piece of
sustained theological writing; the article on censorship, by contrast, is
unhelpfully hortatory and moralistic. It is a pity that the book is written
from a sociological rather than from a consistently biblical and theological
point of view. This book illustrates the characteristic weaknesses of much
Protestant thinking in the field of social ethics. Roman Catholic writing
tends, by contrast, to be vigorous and incisive.
Stuart B. Babbage
Guest Professor of Apologetics
and Church History
THE WHOLE PERSON IN A BROKEN WORLD
By Paul Tournier, translated by John and Helen Doberstein (Harper
&Row). 180 pp. $3.75.
Tournier here applies the insight of a doctor and the faith of a
Christian to a diagnosis of the malady of modern man that will be of
interest and concern to pastor, preacher, and laymen.
Tournier sees the world as broken by a radical disharmony in individual
and society. Like an anxiety-ridden adolescent, rebellious apparently against
parents, teachers, and society, modern man is in actual, though unconscious,
conflict with himself. He has tried to separate the spiritual and the material
in life. He has repressed Christianity, believing that it has little relation to
the "concrete realities of the world and society", yet he is so "impregnated
with Christianity" that he "lives in a state of perpetual ambivalence with
regard to it" (p. 16). Giving up faith in God as naive, he has put faith
in science, superman, progress, power.
The "great schism in man's life" has shown itself in the "despiritualiza-
tion of the world" and the "disincarnation of the Church" (p. 78). Thus
the church offers the world only a "purely spiritual bread" (p. 89); men
regard religion as the refuge of the weak and do not expect from sermons
anything that will help with the "real" problems of life. Medicine closes
its eyes to the spirit in man and fails to see the reason for a rising incidence
of maladies connected with this inner disharmony.
The rift in man and society can be cured only by a synthesis that will
restore man's unity and personhood. For the church, the author recom-
mends a move toward an inner reconciliation, declaring that modern
unbelief "came in by way of the rent that had been torn in the unity of
the church" (p. 152). He urges the church to come out of its retreat and
show that its message concerns all of life, to regard the sick and suffering
world with understanding, resisting the temptation to condemn under the
pretext of converting.
Harold B. Prince
THE RIGHT TO SILENCE
Privileged Communication and the Pastor
By William Harold Tieman (John Knox Press). 159 pp. $4.00.
This book grew out of a concrete situation in the life of its author.
As a pastor who had counseled extensively with a married couple, he was
summoned to testify in court as to matters which had been discussed with
him in confidence and in his ecclesiastical capacity. Immediately he was
confronted by dual questions as to what the law required of him and what
constituted his duty as a clergyman.
Finding no authoritative source book in this field, he subsequently
engaged in extensive research on the subject and embodied the results of
his study in the present volume. In so doing he has rendered a valuable
service to his fellow-ministers in a day when Protestantism is placing new
emphasis upon the importance of confession, and when pastoral counseling
is occupying a place of large importance in the life of the church.
The book contains a wealth of facts concerning the legal status of
information received by a minister as privileged communication, whether
under English common law, rulings of the courts, or statutory law. In gen-
eral it is accurate to say that the question remains confused, and that there
is much need for clarification. Today, however, thirty-seven states, the
District of Columbia, three United States Territories, and two provinces of
Canada have statutes protecting confidential communications to clergymen.
The author strongly defends the view that a minister should not testify
in court concerning statements which have been made to him in his spiritual
capacity as a confessor or as a religious adviser. By all means let him
appear in court if summoned there, but let him also respectfully refuse to
divulge statements made to him in confidence. If held in contempt for his
silence, he may and should appeal to higher courts. In order to avoid such
necessity for its ministers, however, it would be well for the various churches
through cooperative endeavor to seek for further clarification of the law,
and for the enactment of proper statutes where these do not exist.
The content of this volume should stimulate any minister to careful
thought with reference not merely as to his right, but even more as to his
responsibility to keep silence under certain circumstances. The Index, con-
taining a summary of statutes on this subject in the United States, its
territories, and Canada make it a valuable reference work for any library.
J. McDowell Richards
PAUL ON PREACHING
By Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, O. P. (Sheed and Ward). 314 pp.
When a young Roman scholar recognizes that theological confusion
enervating preaching was one of the major causes of the Reformation and
searches for reasons for the ineffectiveness of preaching in our century,
Protestants may well take note. In this volume Murphy-O'Connor turns to
Paul, the preacher "par excellence", in search of an understanding of the
value of preaching in the scheme of salvation. His findings are impressive.
A high view of preaching emerges. The message preached is God's
word, not man's, and its transmission is superintended by God. Special
powers are granted the preacher to enable him to communicate the word:
power to produce divine effects, prudence that enables him to adapt the
message to different congregations, love for men. (Here the author is not
clear. Are these powers given once and for all to the preacher at ordination
or are they gifts of the continuous work of the Spirit? He seems to lean
towards the former view.) Such enabling leads to audacious preaching that
trembles before God but not before men.
The preacher prolongs the ministry of Christ whose radiance, glory,
and light he shares. His whole life must then be transformed and moulded
by Christ's will for the message is personal, not merely verbal. Thus there
can be no discrepancy between words and works for the total life teaches
God calls men to salvation and He prepares the hearts of men to receive
the preached Word. The effectiveness of the sermon does not, then,
depend upon the preacher's skills, but upon the activity of God. Moreover,
God calls men into His own community now and not merely into a
state of eternal salvation. Thus the worship into which the convert is called
is self-offering in sacrificial love through social, public, moral activity and
not merely through cathedral-centered ritual. Preaching is a liturgical act
since by it men are called into the community of the redeemed with whom
the Spirit dwells and through whom He works.
What then is preaching to non-believers? It is a saving event, a sharing
of encounter with Christ. It is God's instrument through which men are
called into the Kingdom. It is not a display of human eloquence; it is
not argument or condemnation. But preaching demands hard thinking
for clarity and pastoral concern for men in their life situations.
This work stirs hope for major homiletical reforms within Romanism
and challenges every preacher to measure his theology of preaching by that
of Paul. Will someone now provide studies of Paul's sermon content and
Hubert Vance Taylor
Professor of Public Speech and Music
By Roger Lincoln Shinn (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York).
158 pp. $3.00.
The Professor of Applied Christianity at Union Theological Seminary
in New York shares with a wider audience his concern about some of the
contemporary issues, technological as well as sociological, which today
challenge the mind and disturb the conscience.
The author does not hesitate to grapple with some of the really
knotty problems. Concerning the familiar argument that you can't legislate
love and that .he only remedy is to change the hearts of men, he says:
"Clearly there is some truth in the argument. It is impossible to buy love or
to beat it into persons. No shuffling of institutions can make a reckless
motorist love pedestrians. Institutions can, however, make him stop for
traffic lights and thereby save more lives. The pedestrians will actually care
less whether the motorist loves them than whether he avoids running them
down. Similarly the Negro has sometimes said to the white oppressor, T
don't care whether you love me. I just want you to quit trampling on me'."
Law, the author rightly insists, has its proper place in the life of man.
If you scratch an American, he wittily observes, you never know whether
he will respond as a puritan or as a pietist. The puritan response is: "There
ought to be a law against that." The pietist response is: "Let's not get
religion mixed up in politics."
According to Plato the unexamined life is not worth living. One of the
merits of this wise and challenging book is that it drives a man furiously
Stuart B. Babbage
Guest Professor of Apologetics
and Church History.
SOUTHERN WHITE PROTESTANTISM
IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
By Kenneth K. Bailey (Harper & Row, 1964). 180 pp. $3.75.
"Protestantism reigns supreme in the South to an extent unmatched in
this hemisphere. Nowhere else, almost surely, is there a Protestant popula-
tion of equal size so renowned for its piety or for its commitment to old-
fashioned Scriptural literalism" (p. ix) . It is this unique part of Christendom
that Kenneth Bailey studies.
The author examines Southern white Protestantism during the historical
era of greatest change for America. The nation became truly industrialized
during this period; social, economic and political changes have been tre-
mendous to say nothing of the scientific, theological and international revo-
lutions. Yet the southern churches have not been greatly altered — until
Dr. Bailey suggests (1) that our ecclesiastical isolation has fostered a
kind of provincialism which makes us reluctant to re-examine traditional
precepts concerning either theology or social concerns; (2) that our churches
have been basically fundamentalist in theology and reactionary in economic
and social matters; (3) that unto this day "sectionalism has perhaps been
perpetuated more explicity in the southern churches than in any other
institution" (p. 162).
In the last part of his book, Professor Bailey indicates some of the
changes that are taking place. One can trace out the roots of the innova-
tions as they appear earlier in the book. One that interests this reviewer
is the gulf that has been growing between the preachers and the people
(though one would not want to suggest that this is a uniquely southern
phenomenon). Bailey indicates this breach began (1) when the preachers
developed a social conscience, (2) when pastors almost totally identified
the church and Christ with prohibition as over against Al Smith and (3)
when the clergy accepted the 1954 ruling of the Supreme Court.
The study of the anti-evolution crusades and the pious remarks of
Bishop Candler concerning the wholesome political and social conservatism
spawned by the South's "evangelical and brotherly type of Christianity"
make interesting reading. Nothing is so striking, however, as the South-
erner's ability to combine piety and violence. J. F. Norris, a great Southern
Baptist fundamentalist, urged his huge Fort Worth congregation "to with-
hold contributions from co-operative denominational enterprises" in order
to enforce orthodoxy. This same defender of truth shot and killed a man
who came to plead with him concerning his rash statements. The following
Sunday Norris preached on Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no con-
demnation to them which are in Christ Jesus . . ." It is just this most
Protestant part of the nation that now "looms freshly as the setting where
John F. Kennedy was struck down, and where Kennedy's accused assassin
was curiously murdered before a national television audience" (p. 160).
Maybe Faulkner is right: we southerners live
in violence, in drinking and fighting and praying; catastrophe too, the
violence identical and apparently inescapable and so why should not
their religion drive them to crucifixion of themselves and one another?
(p. 322, Light In August)
Neely Dixon McCarter
Professor of Christian Education
ON THE BATTLE LINES
Edited by Malcolm Boyd (Morehouse-Barlow Co). 259 pp. $5.95.
This book, composed of essays by twenty-seven "militant" Episcopal
clergymen, is a "desperate appeal for Christian renewal" (p. 254). Each
describes the struggle of the dedicated churchman in some problem area
of the contemporary world, some dealing with "the jungle of the city",
others dealing with "contemporary issues in the church" and with "morality
The book contains strong meat and will probably offend some who
feel that more loyalty should be shown to traditional forms and concepts.
The chapter on "justice," for example, finds the Old Testament Joseph to
have been possibly a "latent homosexual, cruel, semi-psychopathic, doubtful
improvable offender" (p. 229). Whether a better understanding of the
criminal mind is communicated by this unconventional interpretation of
the Biblical story depends largely on attitudes already to be found in the
reader, and it is doubtful if a large segment of the Church the book should
reach will respond favorably to this treatment. Much of the book, however,
is written with a deep and passionate concern for the future of the Church
which any reader can sense and which most will share.
James H. Gailey, Jr.
Professor of Old Testament Language,
Literature, and Exegesis
THE PULPIT SPEAKS ON RACE
Edited by Alfred T. Davies (Abingdon Press). 191 pp. $3.95.
As regards the Civil Rights Question the Church present a curious
spectacle. On the one hand, it might be said, as the preface to our book
states, "Most if not all of the civil rights leaders have written off the local
congregations and many of their ministers as effective allies in this human
rights movement." Yet, it is equally true that the Church has furnished
some of the most ardent leaders in this struggle for giving the Negro his
rightful place within the visible Church of Christ and American society
In The Pulpit Speaks on Race, we are presented with a number of
sermons by well known pastors (one layman's address is included). Different
Protestant denominations are represented. Their spokesmen are Negro and
white, from the North as well as the South.
The twenty sermons are equally divided, in that half of them deal with
the more theological aspects of the race problem, the rest view the question
more from a social Christian ethic.
As the outstanding contribution, in the first section, this reviewer would
name Dr. Martin Luther King's sermon on "Love in Action", based on
Luke 23:34: "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not
what they do." Dr. King points out two lessons to be learned from these
words: "first, it is a marvelous expression of Jesus' ability to match words
with actions"; secondly, Dr. King sees in this petition "an expression of
Jesus' awareness of man's intellectual and spiritual blindness". There is
pathos in his concluding section: "As I behold that uplifted cross I am
reminded not only of the unlimited power of God, but also of the sordid
weakness of man. I think not only of the radiance of the divine, but also
of the tang of the human. I am reminded not only of Christ at his best,
but of man at his worst."
In the second part of the book, is a thought-provoking sermon by David
G. Colwell, pastor of the First Congregational United Church of Christ,
Washington, D. C. Here is part of it:
What are some of the things that you and I can do in the midst of
the revolution? First, I think, we can recognize that we are in a revolu-
tion. Whether we like it or not is immaterial. This is where we are. As
in any revolution the great, uncommitted, neutral middle ground is the
most irrelevant piece of real estate in the United States. I mean by this
that in this revolution we are called to stand on one side or the other.
God does not call his people in this day to silence; God does not permit
us to sit by silently and uncommittedly pretending that it is really none
of our concern. Mark this well! In this day and generation the silent
man is really on the side of injustice, of persecution, of segregation;
whether he wants it that way, once again, is immaterial here. This is the
nature of our time. (p. 139)
Some will say that there is another side to the race problem which is
not given a hearing in this book. This may well be the case, but there can
be little doubt that the theological and moral appeals made in these sermons
carry such weight as cannot easily be cast aside.
L. R. Dewitz
Professor of Old Testament Language,
Literature, and Exegesis
THE MEANING OF HISTORY
By Erich Kahler (George Braziller, Publisher). 224 pp. $5.00.
For the Greeks the meaning of history was essentially form. History
had no goal — except eternal recurrence. For the Jews, on the contrary, a
goal is set for humanity, a future, the future, is created as the decisive
factor in man's destiny. Here history assumes meaning as purpose. For
Judaism, man was a constitutionally fallible creature but in principle he
was not necessarily sinful. The choice between right and wrong was left
to his free will. Hence, God's constant quarrel with man, his perpetual
goading him toward the good. Even Jesus urged men to "be perfect, even
as your Father which is in heaven is perfect".
According to E. Kahler, the trend of the whole process of history, the
general directions in which events are moving, and the alternatives they are
pointing to for choice and decision, can definitely be seen ahead. In that
respect the course of history is predictable. Hence our will, feeling of free-
dom and responsibility, stand. As we are not mere objects of a process
but part of it, we could still make the world progress, thereby giving a
meaning to human history.
Obscurantists are not likely to appreciate this book, but "whether one
agrees with the author or not", T. S. Eliot said, "what he writes must
provoke fresh thinking on the part of any reader capable of that exertion."
Paul T. Fuhrmann
Professor of Church History
HISTORY AND CHRISTIANITY
By E. Harris Harbison (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New
Jersey). 292 pp. $6.50.
In these essays the late Professor E. Harris Harbison has left us a
superb legacy. The essays fall into two broad categories: the one, studies
in the Christian understanding of history; the other, studies in the Protestant
Each essay bears the imprint of an original mind. Dr. Harbison has a
rare gift for illuminating the past, and making what is familiar fresh and
vivid. He writes with grace and verve.
In a brilliant chapter he analyses Toynbee's reconstruction of history.
"The problem of Christian historiography", he writes, is "first, to work
out an interpretaion in which man is in but not of history; and second, to
define the movement of history in such a way as to do justice to both
recurrence and uniqueness, both cycle and line." "Ever since Augustine",
he notes, "Christianity has been more afraid of the cycle than of the line,
more disturbed about history's being reduced to recurrence than about its
being reduced to uniqueness." The explanation is not far to seek: "The
cornerstone of Christianity is the uniqueness of the Incarnation." "When
Toynbee writes as a student of contemporary international affairs he empha-
sizes uniqueness; when he writes as a historian of civilizations, he empha-
sizes recurrence." What he does not do, Dr. Haribson suggests, is to bring
these antimonies meaningfully together.
The Reformers, he says, restored to history a sense of dynamism and
purpose. Calvin rejected the classical view that history is either the product
of sheer chance (Fortune) or the result of inexorable determinism (Fate).
The truth to Calvin is that every event that happens in time is predestined
by an inscrutable but purposeful will. "The Protestant Reformers", Dr.
Harbison indicates, "rescued the sense of history from both chance and
determinism, and left it to the predestinating power of the living God."
This scholarly work is beautifully printed by the Princeton University
Press in accordance with their accustomed standards of publishing excellence.
Stuart B. Babbage
Guest Professor of Apologetics
and Church History
THE SOCIAL HUMANISM OF CALVIN
By Andre Bieler, translated by Paul T. Fuhrmann (The John Knox
Press). 79 pp. $1.50.
Andre Bieler, in this slim volume, provides us with an original com-
mentary on certain neglected aspects of the teaching of the Genevan
Reformer on social and economic matters. Dr. W. A. Visser't Hooft, in
an introduction to the original French edition, points out that Calvin has
too often been interpreted through the eyes of his successors.
Bieler subjects to fresh examination Weber's familiar thesis that Calvin-
ism was responsible for promoting the growth of capitalism. "If Max
Weber had studied the Calvinism of the sixteenth century and not that of
the eighteenth century", he writes, "he would have reached different con-
clusions." If we study Calvin we are likely to conclude, he says, that what
Calvin advocated was "personalist socialism". "Nothing is more contrary
to the spirit of Calvin", he boldly concludes, "than a conservative spirit".
Students who are concerned about the social implications of the gospel
will find this study of unusual interest.
Dr. Fuhrmann has rendered a useful service in making Bieler's book
available to a wider audience. It is a pity, however, that he did not employ
the services of a ghost-writer to secure a more idiomatic English translation.
Stuart B. Babbage
Guest Professor of Apologetics
and Church History
LIGHT IN THE NORTH
By J. D. Douglas (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company). 220 pp.
On behalf of every authentic Presbyterian we congratulate Editor F. F.
Bruce for including this study in the series, The Advance of Christianity,
and author J. D. Douglas for the objective analysis and exact scholarship
with which the work is done. The inclusion of the texts of the National
Covenant and of the Solemn League and Covenant show the true content
of these historic documents.
To the Reformation slogan "None but Christ saves", the Covenanters
added, "None but Christ reigns" over His Kirk. They recognized two kings
and two kingdoms and limited King James' rule to the earthly one. In
Scotland, the victory for Protestantism would never have been achieved
unless these "bonny fighters" had been unified into an invincible legion
by the spirit of the Covenant.
Under the banner with this ensign, "For Christ's Crown and Covenant",
General Alexander Leslie led the blue stocking Presbyterians to victory at
Newborn, even as Alexander Henderson had led the General Assembly in
the overthrow of "the pretended bishops and archbishops".
The Martyr Monument in Edinburgh reminds us of that for which some
men did even dare to die. Here in the "killing times" are the heroes dear to
our hearts: Archibald Campbell, Marquis of Argyle who preached from his
scaffold that we are tied by covenants to religion and reformation; James
Guthrie, for whom "there is no jouking (ducking) in the cause of Christ";
Hugh MacKail, who is remembered for his Seraphic Song on the scaffold;
John Welsh, the hunted minister who preached to thousands on the moun-
tains of Scotland; John Blackadder, who languished and died a prisoner on
Bass Rock; the two Margarets, who were fastened to the beach and drowned
as the tide came in at Solway Firth; Alexander Peden, who comforted the
prisoners with the assurance, "I defy the world to steal a lamb out of
Christ's flock unmist."
With this book in hand we can enjoy our stories of the Covenanters
with a new assurance that we are dealing with historically attested facts.
Only Jane Geddes' name lacks attestation in the historic act at St. Giles'
Cathedral. Our gratitude goes to those who have made this possible.
William C. Robinson
Professor of Ecclesiastical History,
Church Polity, and Apologetics
VARIETIES OF UNBELIEF
By Martin E. Marty (Holt, Rinehart & Winston). 231 pp. $5.00.
In the early 1900's American theologians and churchmen were pre-
occupied with empirical theology or religious experience. William James
produced his Varieties of Religious Experience in which he dealt with and
classified the subject-matter of contemporary religion. Martin Marty has
attempted to do much the same for us. The substance of much present day
religion is the death-of-God.
There are two sources of evidence for the latter statement. First, there
is the experience of modern man. He lives, as a matter of fact, as if God
were dead. There are reasons for this ignoring of God and Marty outlines
the same. The second source of information concerning the death-of-God
can be found in the writings of churchmen as well as non-churchmen.
Gabriel Vahanian The Death of God (1961) deals with this post-nietz-
schean concept from a theological point of view while Hillis Miller (The
Disappearance of God, 1964) studies the phenomenon from the perspective
of literature. Paul Van Buren and Bishop John Robinson belong to this
movement in theology as well as do Thomas Altizer and William Hamilton.
F. Thomas Trotter summarizes the variations on the death-of-God theme
in an article in the January, 1965 issue of the Journal of Bible and Religion.
The author proposes two types of unbelief (as James proposed two
basic types of religious experience). There is a form of unbelief which is
integral, meaning that the unbelief integrates the totality of life and refuses
even to allow Christian belief as a possibility. Examples of this are nihilism,
atheism, pantheism and secularism. There are also non-integral forms of
unbelief. In this category belong anomie (aimless lawlessness), accidie
(slothfulness, listlessness, spectator-mentality) which do not actively forbid
Christian faith; they simply exist without it. For example, agnosticism is
open to the Christian affirmation in a way that antitheism is not
The book studies the American scene primarily and perhaps makes its
greatest contributions in revealing how our religiousness and religiosity
serve as masks for a growing unbelief. Marty shows how Christianity's
marriage to certain aspects of our culture causes even the Church to contain
both belief and unbelief within her bosom. Much of our churchly talk
and parish busy-ness serve to conceal the real unbelief of our time.
To carry on a battle soldiers must know the terrain. Martin Marty has
aided us with this task by writing this perceptive volume.
Neely Dixon McCarter
Professor of Christian Education
SHAKESPEARE AND CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE
By Roland Mushat Frye (Princeton University Press). 314 pp. $6.00.
The plays of Shakespeare are not theological propaganda, and we mis-
take their purpose, says Roland Mushat Frye, if we spend our time looking
for Christ-figures and illustrations of the finer points of Christian theology.
"The mirror of Shakespearean drama", the author argues, "was held up to
nature, and not to saving grave." Shakespeare's concern was the "universally
human" rather than the narrowly theological. Nevertheless, ethical consider-
ations were not excluded. The author quotes Harry Levin: "The Elizabethan
conception of art as the glass of nature was ethical rather than realistic,
for it assumed that, by contemplating situations which reflected their own,
men and women could mend their ways and act with greater resolution
The Reformers recognised that art enjoys its own proper autonomy.
Calvin boldly affirmed that God "hath raised up the humane sciences which
are apt and profitable to the guiding of our life and in serving to our profit
may also serve to his glory". "Let that admirable light of truth shining in
them", Calvin wrote in the Institutes, "teach us that the mind of man,
though fallen and perverted from its wholeness, is nonetheless clothed and
ornamented with God's excellent gifts. If we regard the Spirit of God as
the sole fountain of truth, we shall neither reject the truth itself, nor despise
it whenever it shall appear, unless we wish to dishonor the spirit of God."
"The most influential Reformation theologians", Dr. Frye concludes, "view
literature and the liberal arts as having an integrity quite independent of
Christian revelation, or of Christian theology, or of any theological refer-
ence to the patterns of Christian salvation."
The author argues his thesis with monumental learning. Half the book
is devoted to an analysis of various topics, ranging from "affliction" to
"worship". Each topic is illustrated by reference to selected Reformation
theologians (Luther, Calvin and Hooker), and their views are painstakingly
contrasted and compared with the views of Shakespeare, insofar as these
are reflected in his drama. It is difficult not to feel that this prodigious
labour has been largely supererogatory, and that it would have been more
profitable and helpful to interpret Shakespeare in terms of the Renaissance
rather than the Reformation.
The author ignores such important concepts as humour and comedy
(neither of which is listed in the index). These concepts need to be dis-
cussed in arriving at an adequate interpretation of Shakespeare's doctrine
Scholars will be grateful to Dr. Frye for what he has already given
in such abundant measure, but, like Oliver Twist, they will want to ask for
Stuart B. Babbage
Guest Professor of Apologetics
and Church History
FICTION AND THE SHAPE OF BELIEF
A Study of Henry Fielding with Glances at Swift,
Johnson and Richardson
By Sheldon Sacks (University of California Press). 277 pp. $7.00.
Throughout the history of literary criticism, the problem of ethical
belief and the creative form and act has been most perplexing. This prob-
lem has continually given birth to two variant views concerning literature
and ethics: one school views literary works only as examples of ethical
belief; the other school relegates ethical belief to a minor role in true
artistic creation. It is to this problem that Professor Sacks addresses himself
in this work as he attempts "to formulate a theory about a constant and
necessary relationship between the ethical beliefs of novelists, whatever
the content of these beliefs, and novels."
To accomplish his purpose, the author concentrates on one literary
form, the novel and demonstrates by contrast with two other fictional forms,
satire and apologue, how the ethical belief of the author relates to the form.
Mr. Sacks does this by concentrating primarily on the works of Henry
Fielding and isolating the ethical value judgments in these works and then
converting them into ethical statements. He also demonstrates that Field-
ing's artistic success in his novels depended upon his use of creative imagina-
tion in presenting these complex ethical judgments.
In the final chapter Professor Sacks develops the thesis that ethical
judgments are necessary formal elements of all novels since any novelist
must, in order to write a good novel, make judgments about characters,
acts, and thoughts. The final conclusion is that the ethical beliefs of the
novelist do not shape the novel but do have a vital and discernable shape
within the novel.
Of necessity, this book is complex and exhaustive in its search for the
answer to this problem. However, it is an excellent wedding of scholarship
and creative understanding in its search for an answer to the problem of
the relationship of ethical belief and the novel. As such it will reward the
reader, who will with diligent intellectual effort undertake the search with
the author, with excogitative and eximious insights into one of the most
complex problems of literary criticism of all ages. And for the theologian,
this insight into the necessary and formal relationship of ethical belief to
the creative act provides an invaluable tool to his understanding of man's
Richard M. Austin
Final Year Student
THE CLIMATE OF FAITH IN
Edited by Nathan A. Scott, Jr. (The Seabury Press). 233 pp. $5.95.
The several studies which comprise this volume are largely of interim
value. According to the editor "the younger clergy (today) . . . are reading
Faulkner and Auden and Camus as avidly as they are reading Tillich and
Bultmann. In parish churches all over the country discussion groups of
young people are to be found attempting, through the study of imaginative
literature, to probe the issues of faith in relation to modern experience."
There is ample evidence to suggest a fast approaching, long over-due,
rapprochement between art and faith in these United States. As this goal
is actualized such studies will no longer be necessary. Until there is wider
and deeper correlation between the themes of modern literature and the
arts and the reflection and proclamation of the Christian faith, such a work
is timely and indispensable.
The studies should be of interest to those who are already seeking to
deepen their experiences and understanding of their own faith through
dialogue with the unwelcome and unfamiliar forms of cultural creativity.
They may sharpen our insight into the countless modern parables being
spoken by the creative artists of our times. The studies should prove helpful
to those who yet remain solely within the circle of faith but are interested
in exposure to theology in camouflage. The offering by Scott is an excellent
introduction to the reason and need for such a dialogue between theology
and literature; the ensuing studies are a demonstration of such dialogue
by those with "eyes to see" and "ears to hear" who may be called of God
to interpret twentieth century tongues for us. The studies may also serve
the polemical if not apologetic task of winning over those who are opposed
to all such enterprise.
The editor is to be commended for his interim offering. Hopefully
these studies will be no longer necessary in a few years. However the case
may be, the work is indirectly a poignant attack upon the docetism which
ever haunts the Church under the guise of piety and directly stimulating
and liberating for all who, to paraphrase E. E. Cummings, "will learn to
Harry B. Beverly
Associate Professor of Homiletics
The Major Fiction
By Edward Wasiolek (The M. I. T. Press, Mass.) 255 pp. $7.50.
By Eduard Thurneysen, translated by Keith R. Crim (John Knox
Press, Richmond, Virginia). 84 pp. $1.50 (Paperback).
In a celebrated letter to N. A. Fonvizina Dostoevsky wrote: "Even if
anyone proved to me that Christ was outside the truth, and it really was
so that the truth was outside Christ, then I would still prefer to stay with
Christ than with the truth."
The novels of Dostoevsky, rightly understood, are projections of his own
existential anguish. "It was not as a child that I learnt to believe in Christ
and confess this faith", he confesses in one of his notebooks, "My Hosanna
has burst forth from a huge furnace of doubt."
It is the merit of this careful and illuminating study by Professor
Wasiolek that it seeks to interpret the great themes of Dostoevsky's major
fiction. "What is major in Dostoevsky", the author writes, "is his vision
and his grasp of the human situation", and it is the human situation that
Dostoevsky relentlessly explores. The author brings to the task of analysis
and interpretation not only the fruit of extensive reading (it is significant
that the appended bibliography occupies more than twenty printed pages!),
but, more importantly, sensitivity and insight. The result is a study of
depth and penetration.
Concerning his friend, Eduard Thurneysen, Karl Barth said: "He was
the one who first put me on the trail of . . . Dostoevsky, without whose
discovery I would not have been able to write either the first or second
draft of the commentary on Romans." It is now possible for a wider
audience to study Thurneysen's penetrating analysis and assessment of
Tnis book was written in 1921, and it is now available, for the first
time, in an English edition. It differs from other studies in being a
theological interpretation of the works of Dostoevsky.
Each book is a rewarding and exciting study of one of the most disturb-
ing writers of our time. There is, in the writings of Dostoevsky, pessimism
and nihilistic despair, but there is also light, and that light is Christ.
Stuart B. Babbage
Guest Professor of Apologetics
and Church History
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN NOVELISTS
Edited by Harry T. Moore (Southern Illinois University Press). 232 pp.
Charles Hoyt, in a perceptive article on Bernard Malamud, points out
that modern American writers are in determined revolt against the tradi-
tions of an earlier age. "It is becoming increasingly evident that the inevit-
able has happened; that the athletic fatalism of Hemingway, the closed
'realism' of the Naturalistic school, the chipped classicism of Eliot and
T. E. Hulme, have engendered their opposites. Romanticism is by now
aboard in all its traditional forms, and proliferating: Youth in Revolt
(Kerouac and others of the Beat group; England's Angry Young Men),
Glorification of Energy, and Passion Unconfined (the Picaresque romps of
Saul Bellow and J. P. Donleavy), The Unleashed Imagination (Thomas
Pynchon, Joseph Heller), Social Protest (James Baldwin), and of course,
the Cult of the Self (J. D. Salinger)." To this exuberant ill assorted group,
he adds, Malamud stands as philosopher.
It is the merit of this symposium that it provides a readable introduction
to the works of these younger writers. Frederick J. Hoffman suggests that
their feverish affirmation of life is motivated by a deep desire to achieve
some kind of identity. "The essential task", he notes percipiently, "is to
fight against loss of identity, to make a 'show' of virtue and a satisfactory
life in this world" because there is little belief in a life to come. "The
stratagems used to make a completed life", he repeats, are an attempt to
provide "an adequate surrogate of immortality". Thus the ultimate concerns
of Bellow's novels are, he insists, eschatological.
Howard W. Webb, Jr., in a sympathetic study of the Beat Generation,
refers to "their tortured need for something to believe in". "They were
haunted by their inability to believe in anything, convinced that this faith-
lessness was unbearable, and driven by the tension arising from their
conflicting views to a craving for excess."
This symposium is an illuminating introduction to the bizarre world of
contemporary American writing.
Stuart B. Babbage
Guest Professor of Apologetics
and Church History
THE CAMPUS MINISTRY
Edited by George L. Earnshaw (Valley Forge, the Judson Press).
329 pp. $6.95.
THEOLOGY AND THE UNIVERSITY
Edited by John Coulson (Baltimore, Helcon Press). 286 pp. $4.95.
Both of these volumes deal with the Church and its relation to the
university. Yet they are very different in their approaches and orientations.
The Earnshaw volume attempts "to give those living and working on today's
college campuses an overview of what the church's mission is and how
it is being implemented" (p. 9). This is accomplished by means of a
series of essays from a variety of people involved in university work in
the United States.
There are some very helpful chapters. Glen Martin writes perceptively
of "Campus Culture;" Stanley MacNair offers some useful guidelines for
"Preaching to the Academic Community." Margret Flory informs us of
work among foreign students while Verlyn Barker, LeRoy Loats and Myron
Teske indicate some of the experimental ways of ministering to the campus.
The book does not abound in newness or creativity, but does offer that
"overview" of what is being done and thought by the Protestant churches
on campus. And as one of the writers reminds us, "in the world of the
university the church confronts the new specter of modern culture in its
most naked form" (p. 49). For this reason we need to study the Church's
engagement with the university sympathetically; the Church there may
be doing now what all of us will have to do in fifteen years.
The Coulson book is an ecumenical investigation, in the best sense of
the word. This is primarily an English Roman Catholic book, but it includes
the writings of Europeans and Americans as well as Protestants. The original
study group sought to deal with the problem of teaching theology in the
university. They concluded that theology (not the university) needed three
things: a university setting, lay participation and ecumenical dialogue (p. 1).
Only one writer gets very excited about why the university needs
theology and what the latter can contribute to the former. This writer
happens to be a Presbyterian. The others — far less defensively — wrestle
with the issue and are convinced that theology needs the university. Theo-
logical studies tend to suffer from a "ghetto-mentality" (p. 59). Several of
the contributors argue cogently that the Church cannot do first-rate intel-
lectual work if her thinkers are isolated from the mainstream of academic
life and the competition of conflicting view-points.
Daniel Callahan argues that such isolation coupled with "formalism,
authoritarianism, clericalism, moralism and defensiveness" has hindered
the development of genuine intellectual life among American Catholics
(p. 70). However the Roman Catholics are not only able to see this today
but also willing to do something about it, as this book illustrates. One
wonders whether or not those of us in the Presbyterian Church, U. S., are
this perceptive and free. Are we even aware of our "ghetto-mentality" and
are we willing to do anything about it?
Neely Dixon McCarter
Professor of Christian Education
THE CHRISTIAN YEAR
Sermons of The Fathers
Volume 1, from Advent to Pentecost. George W. Forell, editor.
(Thomas Nelson & Sons, New York). 349 pp. $6.50.
Of making many books of sermons there is no end, and the study of
many of them is a weariness of the flesh. For the most part, they are
here today and gone tomorrow, but here are sermons that were here
yesterday, and will be tomorrow, and can be useful today.
The preacher needs his lexicon and dictionaries, his commentaries and
word study books, his atlas and concordance, in order to discover what
the text is revealing. He also needs to observe how this text has been used
to proclaim the Gospel in other ages. The text has a particular word for
his own day, but he can hear the accents of this word more clearly in the
light of the history of its exposition.
Editor Forell is attempting to aid the preacher in this way. A study
of noted theologians and preachers from the fourth through the nineteenth
centuries led to a selection of 107 sermons based on gospel texts assigned
to the Sundays from Advent to Pentecost. Each Sunday has from three to
five sermons on the designated text. For example, the text for Christmas
Day is Luke 2:1-14, with sermons by Leo the Great, Bernard of Clairvaux,
Martin Luther, and Friedrich Schleiermacher; for Easter the sermons on
Mark 16:1-7 were prepared by St. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin,
and John Donne. Others whose sermons are included are John Chrysostom,
John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, Phillips Brooks, John Keble, Charles
Spurgeon, and Charles Kingsley. Luther leads with 26 sermons and Calvin
has 1 6. Most of the sermons are abbreviated, yet the editor seeks to preserve
the message and the approach for the reader.
Such a collection of sermons may remind us that too often we have tried
to study a man's theology without studying his sermons, and even covered
a course in the history of doctrine while neglecting the message proclaimed
from the pulpit at different periods. How can we understand Calvin apart
from the careful exposition of Scripture in his sermons, or Luther apart
from the earthy illustrations and imagery of his sermons? Thus a study of
such a collection of sermons can enable the minister to become a better
theologian as well as a better preacher — and both belong together.
Wade P. Huie, Jr.
Peter Marshall Professor of Homiletics
THE ENGLISH REFORMATION
By A. G. Dickens (Schocker, New York, 1964). 374 pp. $7.50.
There is certainly no dearth of works relating to the Reformation of
the sixteenth century in our bookshops today. The steady flow of both new
studies on the Reformation and also of reprints of the writings of the
Reformers themselves from our publishing houses is in itself an indication
of the vitality and significance of the Reformation for the present as well as
in the past. It confirms the judgment that, enshrined in this historic move-
ment of four hundred years ago, lay a dynamic principle which is of peren-
nial validity and relevance, so that the extent of the attention it is receiving
today cannot be dismissed as mere antiquarianism or as a fixation for
The Reformers, in fact, recaptured that same dynamic principle which
impelled the Apostle Paul forward in his missionary labours, living, suffer-
ing, and dying in single-minded devotion to the cause of the unique cosmic
Gospel that had been entrusted to him. To thank God for the Reformation,
therefore, and to seek to keep this principle alive, is not to be backward-
looking and unrealistic any more than was the determination of the Reform-
ers to return to and restore the authentic apostolic Christianity of the
New Testament. On the contrary, when applied to the demands and circum-
stances of our own times, it is to be in the truest sense practical and
In this essay — for it is essentially a masterly essay and not an exhaustive
chronicle of events — the author has set before himself what he regards as
the historian's primary task, namely, to explain why things happened; he has
abll justified his conviction that "the development and spread of Protestant-
ism should play a far more prominent role than that assigned to it by most
modern historians of the English Reformation"; and he has "sought to depict
the movement as it affected ordinary men and women, who have somehow
tended to fall and disappear through the gaps between the kings, the prelates,
the monasteries, and the prayer books", without, however, minimizing the
importance of the leading figures in the drama. Those who are familiar
with Dr. Dickens' earlier work Lollards and Protestants in the Diocese of
York will have had a preview of the fresh light which this approach throws
on the scene. The attainment of further knowledge is unlikely to challenge
the substance of the main conclusions of this study; but Professor Dickens
ventures the forecast that the researches now being carried on into local and
regional records and particularly into Tudor diocesan archives (of which he
is a pioneer and instigator) will make possible twenty years hence a far more
complete and definitive treatment of the period in both its social and its
In previous publications Professor Dickens has already adduced evidence
to demonstrate that, so far from being, as some would have it, a foreign
growth imported from Luther's Germany, the English Reformation had its
own indigenous roots reaching back for a century and a half through the
Lollards to John Wycliffe in the fourteenth century. The main function of
the Lollards in this respect he discerns as lying in "the fact that they provided
a spring-board of critical dissent from which the Protestant Reformation
could overleap the walls of orthodoxy". Lollardy afforded a meeting-point
for early Lutheran influence, the chief vehicle of which was Tyndale's New
Testament of 1526 with its doctrinal prefaces. This factor has been largely
overlooked because of the prejudice of historians against Foxe's Acts and
Monuments as a reliable source of information. Dr. Dickens, however,
champions the integrity of John Foxe, due allowance having been made for
the historiographical methods and standards of his day. "It cannot sanely
be maintained", he says, "that Foxe fabricated this mass of detailed and
circumstantial information about early Tudor Lollardy", pointing out that
to have done so would have necessitated "diabolical inventive powers and
erudition" and that "such wholesale forgery would also have been highly
foolish at a date . . . when so many of the people and events remained well
within living memory". Though many of Foxe's sources have been lost,
there are other contemporary records which survive and give him detailed
support. If there is a complaint against Foxe, Dr. Dickens suggests it should
not be one of exaggeration but of incompleteness.
We are warned to avoid the temptation (to which so many doctrinaire
writers have succumbed) to equate Henry's break-away from Rome, which
was occasioned by the famous divorce, with the Protestant Reformation.
Far more than the divorce, of course, there lay behind Henry's action the
developing doctrine of the divine right of kings, influenced in large measure
by the celebrated Defensor Pads of Marsiglio of Padua which has been
written two centuries previously. In this connection we are treated to an
important and rehabilitating study of that brilliant statesman Thomas Crom-
well as the one who laid the legal foundations of the national church. "The
still-prevalent opinion that Cromwell's attitude to religion was purely worldly,
negative, and sinister" is attacked on the ground that it rests "not on a seri-
ous study of Cromwell's character and designs but on an obsession with the
monastic dissolution to the neglect of the innumerable proofs that Cromwell
had creative and positive views on ecclesiastical reform". Professor Dickens
finds it impossible to doubt Cromwell's "desire to establish a religion based
upon the Bible" and "his zeal to create a scripturally-educated laity as the
backbone of an orderly Christian commonwealth". As he so rightly discerns,
it was "in the Bible, in the notion of a return to the original spirit of
Christianity, in the rebirth of a fragment of the ancient world so infinitely
more precious to Christians than the glories of Greece and the grandeurs of
Rome", that "the true strength of the Reformation" lay. Again, it was
Thomas Cromwell who advocated the authentic delineation of the Anglican
via media as lying "between Romish superstition and licentious heresy" (not,
as it is prevalently misrepresented, between Room and Geneva). So too, as
Dr. Dickens observes, "Cranmer's Forty-Two Articles" — the blueprint of
our Thirty-Nine — "leave no doubt as to the medial position of the 'new'
Church, yet it is chiefly medial between Rome and the Anabaptists, rather
than between Rome and the Calvinists or between Rome and the Lutherans".
This volume is itself a notable vindication of its author's contention that,
"whatever our various confessional allegiances, we can scarcely begin to
understand the Reformation without some sober and sympathetic effort to
examine Protestantism from the inside", indeed that "any other approach is
in danger of ignoring some of the plainest realities in our national history".
One of these realities is that "the rise of Protestantism was based upon a
positive evangel". Accordingly we are warned that "we deceive ourselves if
we describe the process in terms of drab negation or attribute its success
merely to the shortcomings of contemporary Catholicism". It is indeed sadly
true that "the Reformation has been too often distorted, its worldly effects
misrepresented, by all sorts of doctrinaires, anachronists, and wishful
thinkers, both sacred and profane by inspiration". Dr. Dickens' estimable
work will do much to ensure that things are seen again in their true
Philip E. Hughes
Guest Professor of New Testament
THE SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
OF PAUL TILLICH
By Alexander J. McKelway (John Knox Press). 280 pp. $5.50.
Prior to the nineteenth century Protestant theologians assumed that
God was a being, a spiritual and eternal being, who could be related to
man very much as one person was related to another. This external rela-
tionship meant that man could apprehend God who was a being other than
the knower and not to be identified with the thought of the knower. The
reality of sin disrupted this process, but God had given man a supernatural
revelation of himself in the Bible which could be, with the aid of the Holy
Spirit, apprehended. For all practical purposes the Christian man could
know God by knowing the Bible.
The work of David Hume shook the metaphysical presuppositions
which supported these assumptions, but it was Kant who pushed the house
down. Kant, like the rational orthodoxy of the day, attributed great possi-
bilities to man's rational capacity. However, he explored this rational ability,
concluding that, with regard to supersensuous objects, man could only posit
such as regulative ideas. God, for example, could never be known as an
object. He could not be understood as a thing-in-itself.
With the metaphysical assumption undergirding orthodoxy removed,
theologians cast about for another mode of theologizing. Several alternatives
were forthcoming. First, some assumed that religion was an a priori struc-
ture of the mind and history. The empirical content of this structure was
given in culture and experience. Secondly, there were those who devised
a new metaphysics which assumed that the knowing mind and the known
object were related immediately or internally. This was seen as true both
noetically and ontologically. The third approach was that of Schleiermacher
who believed that God was directly present to man's consciousness. Man's
awareness of this direct relationship fell not within the realm of reason, but
"feeling". The latter word is not so much a psychological concept as a
metaphysical one. Man's consciousness of his absolute dependence was
his awareness of God. Out of this religious consciousness man could de-
velop theology. Theological statements were not descriptions of an external
object, but an unfolding of the content of man's awareness of God, an
internal relationship. Dogmatics in the old orthodox sense gave way to
statements about the content of Christian consciousness or faith.
It was this situation that Paul Tillich, Karl Barth and others inherited.
Barth sought a way (with the help of Anselm) to make statements about
God, i.e., to have genuine knowledge of God as an object, without falling
into the deductive rationalism of orthodoxy. Barth sought to escape the
three alternatives by making a radical new beginning. He turned Schleier-
macher on his head; that is, he acknowledged a togetherness of God and
man but in such a fashion that God, the Object of man's knowledge (yet
nevertheless, always Subject, acting, revealing, and redeeming), had the
priority in determining how and what man might know.
Tillich, in many ways, has tried to combine the second alternative with
certain features of the third. Now Dr. McKelway has brought the two
great alternative-makers of our day together. McKelway holds to Barth's
basic presuppositions and yet has dialogue with Tillich. The word dialogue
is not used casually here. I mean that there is real appreciation and con-
versation between a Church theologian (using basically Biblical language
and though tforms for the clarifying of the Church's message) and an
apologetic theologian (using the language of the world to convey the
Christian message). McKelway hears Tillich. His summaries of Tillich's
Systematic Theology are masterpieces of clarity and precision. His analyses
of the various portions of the Tillich's thought make every effort to be
fair, to grasp the theologian's real interest, and to be critical about basic
matters, not trivia.
Dr. McKelway concludes that Tillich's method of correlation allows
man to determine the way God must speak to man. Again and again the
author emphasizes the fact that Tillich begins with the human question and
allows the same to determine the form of the theological answer (e.g., p.
141). McKelway is aware of Tillich's efforts to speak to this problem,
especially in the Introduction to volume two of his Systematic Theology.
Here, in particular, Tillich acknowledges that God's answer cannot in reality
be separated from man's question, the answer determines the question as
well as the other way around. In addition, Tillich's description of the
"Theological circle" makes it clear that though the theologian attempts to
hear the question of man without the aid of revelation, he knows that no
theologian can strip himself of having heard the answer. In short, one won-
ders whether or not the question is as separated from the answer as Mc-
Kelway seems to assume.
In fairness to the author, one should note that he recognizes this subtle
interplay and refers to it as the "hidden a priori." Is it really hidden? In
that most helpful of all of his essays, "The Two Types of Philosophy of
Religion", Tillich declares that God is the presupposition of even the
question of God. "God can never be reached if he is the object of a ques-
tion, and not its basis." God, and man's awareness of God, precedes noetic-
ally and ontologically all subject-object correlations, all questions and
answers. Is it fair to say, then, that the a priori of faith is "hidden"? It is
This reviewer is not convinced that Tillich has adopted his method of
correlation merely to enable God's answers to be made comprehensible to
men (p. 255). I think that Tillich has adopted this approach because he
believes that it most accurately reflects God, man and reality. But it is just
here that I join Professor McKelway in criticizing Tillich. It appears to me
that Tillich's assumptions about being, his ontology, determine everything
in his system. And where does he get his view of ontology? Not from the
Jesus Christ of the Gospels. On the contrary, the latter must accommodate
himself to the former. This is no sin in Tillich's approach, for this is just
another way of saying that Jesus must be the express image of God, that
is, Being Itself. Grant him his system and he has you.
But it is just here that one begins to suspect Tillich. McKelway wisely
raises the questions which cause one to wonder about the system. Can it do
justice to Christ? Or does it distort the picture of Christ in the New Testa-
ment? Does it deal with the trinitarian God? Is his ontology mangling the
Despite these negative judgments, one must conclude this excellent study
by McKelway with these words:
No one who reads Tillich can fail to learn from him. His genius for
analytical study will instruct theologians and ministers for generations
to come in the depth and intricacies of human life. Nor will they fail
to find here clear statements, faithful interpretations, and valuable in-
sights concerning the Christian message (p. 269).
Neely Dixon McCarter
Professor of Christian Education
THE RESPONSIBLE CHURCH
AND THE FOREIGN MISSION
By Peter Beyerhaus and Henry Lefever (William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company). 199 pp. $1.95
This is a thought-provoking study of the philosophy and pattern of
Church-Mission relations. It is an English presentation of the material and
thought contained in an earlier work by Dr. Peter Beyerhaus, principal of
the Lutheran Theological College in Natal, published in German in 1956
under the title, The Independence of the Younger Churches as a Missionary
It seeks "a solution of the problems raised by the developing autonomy
of the churches which have arisen as a consequence of the work of foreign
Missions". No easy answers are offered, but the book deals bravely with
the searching questions which every missionary endeavor must face today:
What is the nature of the Church? Is a responsibility for mission an essen-
tial characteristic of the Church? Are missionaries still needed? What is
the role of the foreign missionary in the present situation? Is missionary
work today anything more than a form of "inter-church aid"? What are
the marks of an autonomous church? How can the autonomy of the
Church be reconciled with the unity and catholicity of the Church?
The subject is presented in three parts, the first of which examines the
theories delineated by British, American and Continental thinkers during
the last century and a half. These include Henry Venn of the Church Mis-
sionary Society, Rufus Anderson of the American Board, Roland Allen and
the World Dominion Movement, J. Merle Davis of the International Mis-
sionary Council, and Gustav Warneck and Bruno Gutmann of Germany.
The second part traces the working out of those ideas in specially selected
areas: The Anglican Mission to the Niger, the Lutheran Mission to the
Batak, and the Presbyterian Mission to Korea. In part three the writers
present, on the basis of their evaluation of the foregoing material, a theo-
logical study of the responsible nature of the Church, its unity and its
relationship with its environment.
The reader will look in vain for a pat solution of the many problems
that are discussed, and it is not likely that this volume, with its valuable
insights, will be the last word to be written on the subject. The one state-
ment which seems to summarize the general conclusions of the book is
that "the situation now exists in which 'foreign Missions' can operate only
within the context of, and in the completest co-operation with, a responsi-
ble Church". All in all, the volume presents a careful and critical historical
review of theory and practice in the development of the indigenous
churches. It forms a valuable addition to the literature in this field.
C. Darby Fulton
Professor of Missions
REASON AND AUTHORITY IN THE
By G. R. Cragg (Cambridge University Press). 349 pp. $7.50.
It is clear that the mantle of Norman Sykes — that doyen of English
ecclesiastical historians — has descended on Professor G. R. Cragg. Dr.
Cragg established his reputation with the publication of From Puritanism
to the Age of Reason (which was awarded the Archbishop Cranmer Prize) ;
he futher consolidated his reputation by a definitive study, Puritanism in
the Period of the Great Persecution 1660-1688; and now, with the publica-
tion of Reason and Authority in the Eighteenth Century, he has established
himself as the outstanding interpreter of this period of church history.
The present work discusses the legacy of Locke and Newton. It was
their achievement to establish the principles of inductive reasoning: to sub-
stitute, for deduction from arguments, observation of facts. "The character
of eighteenth century thought", he notes, "was determined by reaction as
well as by appropriation." The confident rationalism of the time was re-
flected in the prudential morality of the Latitudinarians on the one hand
and the cynical scepticism of Hume and Gibbon on the other; it was op-
posed, however, by Law, Berkeley, and Butler. "These men", the author
writes, "compelled a complacent age to re-examine its favourite assump-
The cocky and arrogant claims of reason were challenged by Law,
Berkeley, and Butler, but they were also challenged by what the author
terms, "the authority of a revitalised faith". To argument, Wesley opposed
experience; to abstract rationalism, living faith. "We are not", Wesley said,
"to fight against notions but against sins"; but, in driving sins out of the
door, a good many notions flew out of the window.
This is a work of solid and substantial scholarship, based upon a care-
ful examination of the relevant literature. It is an invaluable contribution
to an enlarged understanding of what has been for too long regarded as
an arid and profitless period of church history.
Stuart B. Babbage.
Guest Professor of Apologetics and
By Bertrand Weaver, C. P. (Sheed and Ward). 182 pp. $3.95.
As our present day Protestantism was molded mostly by solemn Puritans
and sad Pietists, we can hardly expect this volume to be one of its products.
This book was indeed written by a Roman Catholic, Father Weaver. He
has chosen to stress joy because, for one reason, 'happiness' is an over-
worked word. Another reason is that joy goes beyond happiness, being a
complement of the latter. Joy belongs to the will.
The author explores the sources of joy, drawing upon the Bible, the
Liturgy, and the writings of popes and saints; and encourages us to be
happy and joyful.
Sorry Pietists and sad Puritans are encouraged to read this book as
well as the volumes of Calvin and Vinet. Calvin recommends joy in tribu-
lations since the latter may be a sign of our Election. And Vinet informs us
that the religion of Christ is a religion of light, that the apostles were not
pietists, and that it is our joy and not our sadness that honors God.
Paul T. Fuhrmann
Professor of Church History
By Eduard N. Loring
Beyond the wooden pulpits of
Ancient brown brick buildings
Built by broken black backs.
Let us walk beyond the valley
Of the Shadow of death, beyond
The fear of evil. Let us go
To time past, now in time
Present that cunningly leads
to Time future.
The afternoon nimbly naps against
The azure arena of the World.
Why talk to me of old men dying
In useless urban urinals? For
You have seen them sadly slip
The shroud across the body of
Your Saul. Wipe your tiny tears
That tear — you are now the
King. King of the Jews! Oh,
We walk beyond the limits of
The world, but is there not
Time? Time for you and time
For me to stand and stare.
The silent stalking dread of death,
You have known them all. The
Blue-black curl of hate upon your sword:
The Amalekite, Philistines by the hun-
Rechab and Baanah — Yes, you know
The cry of the valley of death.
But let us weep no more for
Violent victory is a thing of beauty.
Beyond church dinners down dark
Halls of time the shadows cast its
Dingling formidable forms. And
You have known them all already.
Judah for a moment; Israel for
Life — A victorious King! Oh David.
Jerusalem you home, its shade no
Rest for the Moabites, Edomites, Am-
And Syrians. And it shall
Be forever — with the good grace of God.
The lonely crowd launders toward
Timeless time. Seething sin slips
And calls uncautiously to you and me.
Sin leads to sin and guilt to guilt
Adultery to murder and friend to
Foe. Bathsheba is gone
And pleasure spent.
But has the world grown calm?
A son rebels and hair among
the Twigs must die. Is Sheba
Last? Or do the Philistines cry?
A mission house, a single light
Do memories flood your sight?
Songs of Praise to your God
And mine. The World, alas, is
His. Justice must reign, The
Covenant is made — The word
has come to us.
The night finally falls, shadows
seep into dark darkness. The
countless counted, the plague
plagued, the offering offered.
God shall keep us for another day.
Let us leave.